Birth rates

birth rates document

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  • Created on: 09-05-11 16:48
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Demography: Births
Birth Rate measures the number of live births per thousand of the population per year
Birth rate has declined since the 1900 from 28.7 to 10.7 in 2007
There were three Baby Booms in the 20th century, one after World War I, another after World War II and lastly in the 1960s
Total Fertility Rate (TFR) is the average number of children women will have during their fertile years (15-44)
UKs TFR: 1960s = 2.95 (high), 2001 = 1.63 (low), 2006 = 1.84 (rise)
This shows that women have fewer children now and they also postpone having children too, the average age is now 29.6
Reasons for the decline in the birth rate:
1) Changes in the position of women: Legal and equal rights e.g. votes, sex discrimination and equal pay, girls perform better in school-
better educational opportunity, easier access to divorce, easier access to abortion and reliable contraception, changes in family attitudes
and women's role.
2) Decline in the infant morality rate: (IMR) measures the number of babies that die before reaching their first birthday. In 1900 15% of
the babies died and this is why parents had more babies to replace them. Now babies have higher chances of surviving due to better
hygiene, technology and medication, so parents now choose to have fewer children.
3) Children have become an economic liability: Before parents were able to send their children out to work and earn money but now
children have become an economic liability. Laws ban child labour and compulsory schooling allows children to remain dependent on
their parents for longer. Changing norms allow children to have higher expectation from their parents in terms of material and therefore
parents feel less able to have a large family size.
4) Child centeredness: parents now focus on quality over quantity, they believe childhood is a very important stage for individuals and so
they try to have fewer children and provide them with greater emotional and financial support.
Conclusion: birth rate, fertility rate, family sizes has fallen. However it has increased a little recently this could be due to increases
immigration as research shows foreign mother have more children.
Effects of changes in fertility:
1) The family: smaller family size means women can work creating dual earner couple typical
of many professional families, however better off couples can have a large family and still
work full-time.
2) The dependency ratio: Few children decreases the burden on working population as they
have to pay less to support these dependent children, however fewer children means fewer
young adults working and this increases the burden again.
3) Public services and policies: A lower birth rate will cause fewer schools, child health
services. However the government may decide to have smaller class sizes rather than fewer


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