More women not having children in England

More women not having children in England

Nearly one in five women in England and Wales were childless at the end of the childbearing years compared to 10 percent in women born around 1945, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a report on Thursday.

ONS said in the report that since the 1950s, there had been a generally increasing proportion of women not having any children, reports Xinhua news agency.

For women born prior to 1950, the percentage who were childless by the end of their childbearing years was much lower, with the lowest percentage being 9 per cent for women born in 1946. The figure has now doubled - 18 per cent are childless.

The report also showed that women are becoming less likely to have children before their 25th birthday.

By their 25th birthday, 60 per cent of women born in 1945 had had at least one child. For women born in 1972, the picture had changed - by age 25 years, only 33 per cent had had at least one child.

Paula Guy from the Population Statistics Division at ONS said: "Looking at women who reached the age of 45 in 2017, we can see that they had smaller families than earlier generations, with an average completed family size of 1.89 children.

"Two children remains the most common completed family size for women born in 1972. However, the proportion of women with two children was lower, while the proportion of women with one child or no children was greater, than for women born a generation before, in 1945."

Guy added that there were "signs that women who are still in their childbearing years are showing similar patterns of delaying their childbearing until their 30s and having fewer children overall".

The most common age of childbirth for women born in 1972 who reached age 45 in 2017 was 31 years, compared to between 23 and 24 years for women born in 1945.

ONS said its study also revealed that a quarter of women who reached age 25 in 2017 had at least one child, the lowest percentage on record.

The statistics showed that by the age of 30, women had given birth to an average 1.03 children, compared to 1940 when women of the same age had 2.36 children on average.

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