Taken from The Guardian: Wednesday October 5th
The number of women in the UK and US not having children is at an all-time high. American women without children between the ages 15-44 increased from 35% in 1976 to 47% in 2010.
Women in the UK born in 1984 had an average of 1.02 children by the time they were 30 years old, which is slightly fewer children than women born in 1969 who have on average 1.12 children by 30 years old. 18% of women born in 1969 remain without children, whereas only 11% of those born in 1944 were without children.
Choice, circumstance, medical reasons and the perceived benefits of having children all play a part in deciding whether to have children. 10% of women without children in the US are so by choice, 10% for medical reasons, and 80% by circumstance according to research conducted by sociologist Renske Keizer, a professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
The UK population is growing unusually fast, too. At the present rate of progress, the Office for National Statistics expects it to swell by 4.6 million during the 2010s – “the biggest growth in the last 50 years”. In 2014, the latest year for which figures are available, the UK had almost 65 million inhabitants, its greatest ever total. It is predicted to be home to more people than France by 2030 and more people than Germany by 2047, which would make this much smaller land mass the most populous country in Europe.
In 2010, a cross-party group – including the Labour MP and poverty expert Frank Field, the economic historian Lord Skidelsky and the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey – issued a “Declaration on Population”. It warned that a UK population of 70 million – which will arrive about 2030, based on current trends – “would be seriously damaging to the future harmony of our society.” Days later, David Cameron announced his ill-fated plan to reduce net immigration.
But is alarm the right response to the population boom? Jonathan Portes of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research thinks not. “Population is not well discussed in Britain,” he says. “Our self-image is an old and constrained country. We find it hard to be positive about population growth. But it has boosted economic growth. It has made austerity less painful, by increasing total employment and tax revenues. And congestion, pressure on services – they’re considerably easier to cope with, from a collective point of view, than the opposite problems. We’ve forgotten what depopulation feels like.”
He thinks the population panic will pass. “I find it hard to believe that we’ll have this gloomy discourse on population in 20 years’ time.” Portes agrees: “You can build more schools and hospitals. Population redistribution is hard, but not impossible. You obviously can’t plonk people in the middle of nowhere, but we built new towns in the 50s. Why not build more within commuting distance of, say, Manchester?”
Here are the demographic videos we are going to watch after the ageing essay:
Apologies for the poor scan! Recent ONS figures have shown a spike in the birth rate during September meaning that the majority of children are conceived during the Xmas holidays!
The Conservative Party have completely failed to keep their promise to cut migration:
“Net migration to the UK rose to 260,000 in the year to June – an increase of 78,000 on the previous year”.
Net migration peaked at 320,000 in 2005. It fell to a low of 154,000 in the year ending September 2012
Clearly the UK has lots of pull factors for EU migrants in particular at the moment. Think about the consequences of this influx.