i Editor's Letter: Birth boom
Oliver Duff was appointed Editor of i in June 2013. He was previously Executive Editor at The Independent, i and The Independent on Sunday, running the newsroom. Formerly a reporter, gossip columnist and news editor, he was fired as the magazine's bar critic after three weeks. A diver and surfer, he's interested in nature and science, politics and diplomacy.
Friday 09 August 2013
Do people have more sex in a recession? We’ve just undergone the biggest baby boom in 40 years. It’s the reason there are now 63.7 million of us on these isles – a leap of 419,000 people in 12 months, more than any other country in Europe. If it seems especially busy down at the park this weekend, bear in mind that our population is rocketing by 48 an hour.
The bulk of this growth (61 per cent) is due to the biggest number of births in Britain since 1972. These nippers are the worker bees of the future (yes I’m talking to you in cot 7). Of course, they will place more pressure on school places, health services, housing, the transport network, countryside... but without them our pensions are doomed, the welfare state looks shaky and funding for public services will shrivel. And anyway, babies are fun. Sometimes.
Immigration is certainly a factor in this fertility boom: the prevalence of young migrants to the UK means that one in four new babies last year has a foreign-born mother, whereas that figure was one in six a decade ago.
But the other factor is the recession. The worldwide trend, reflected in the US and continental Europe, has been for a fall in fertility during this downturn, attributed to women/couples postponing babies until their finances improve.
Not in the UK, though. Here, some women are “choosing childbearing over employment”, according to statisticians, and couples have stayed in more – nudge wink. Fertility treatment has also continued to improve, allowing more women over 35 to have children.
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 2 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 3 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 4 London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27