Demographic changes: birth rates

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  • Created on: 05-02-20 09:01
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  • Demographic changes: Births
    • Key terms
      • Though immigration can add to the population, in most countries the main reason for population growth is an increase of births
      • Natural population increase=number of births-number of deaths
      • Crude birth rate =births per 1,000 of the population per year
        • Good for comparing the growth of different countries populations
          • More developed industrial countries have lower birth rates than less developed countries
            • Recently many poorer countries have experienced a decline in birth rates
      • Total fertility rate (TFR): The average number of children per woman
        • Gives us a measure of typical family size
    • Trends in birth and fertility
      • There has been a significant decline in births since the late 19th century
        • In 1901 there were nearly 1.1 million births, in 2012 there were 812,970 from a much larger population
      • Declining mortality: from 1830 the death rate decreased and life expectancy increased
        • Families no longer had to have lots of children to ensure one survived to adulthood
      • Economic factors: Children can no longer work and provide income for the family
        • Children are more of a financial burden than an economic asset
      • Women's opportunities: There has been a huge expansion in opportunities for women over the last century
        • Women are less likely to have kids until they have completed education and become established in their careers
      • Changing social attitudes: Up until the late 19th century, large families were seen as desirable
        • While the state of childlessness was seen as unfortunate in the past, many modern couples choose not to have children
      • Individualisation: Many people seek a lifestyle which they can construct
        • Many people see children as a risk to their relationship or their economic well being so they minimise this risk by delaying or avoiding having children
      • Contraception and abortion: Contraception was disapproved of in many sections of society
        • Far more pregnancies are terminated by abortion after the 1967 abortion act making abortion legal
    • Fluctuations in birth rates
      • The birth rate has fluctuated considerably over the last century
      • The birth rate fell during both world wars
        • There were baby booms after the wars
      • There were booms in the late 1950s-early 1960s and the late 1980s and early 1990s
        • There is usually a baby boom 25 years after the last one as there are more young people of childbearing age
          • Baby booms coincide with economic prosperity
      • There was a drop in birth rate in the 1990s as there was a drop in the 1970s
      • The birth rate and TFR have been climbing since 2001 due to children of the 1980s baby boom beginning families, more women going to uni and delaying children in the 1990s and rising immigration levels
    • Family size
      • In Victorian England families had up to 10 children
        • Susanne Whiting (2012): There are only small social class differences in family size today, unlike the early 20th century
      • There was a decline in birth rates from 1870-1920
        • Woods and Smith (1983) In 1871, the average woman had 5.5 children but by 1921 this had fallen to 2.4 children
      • Families today are even smaller
        • In 2012, the average woman had 1.71 children
      • Married or civil partnered couples had had a higher average of children at 1.79
        • Lone-parent families had 1.59 children
        • Cohabiting couples had an average of 1.62
      • Marrried couples tend to be older and tend to have completed childbearing
      • Almost half of all women born in 1982 were childless by their 30th birthday
        • Reasons for this include increased participation in higher education, delayed marriage and partnership formation, establishing a career, getting on the housing ladder and ensuring financial stability
      • There is increased birth outside marriage


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