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Number of births in England and Wales continues to decrease – ONS report

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17 August 2023

Katherine O’Brien, a BPAS spokesperson, said:

“There were 605,479 live births in England and Wales in 2022, a 3.1% decrease from 624,828 in 2021 and the lowest number since 2002.

“There are lots of positive societal developments which have contributed to the general trend towards women having fewer children and towards having their children later in life – many women want to get established in a career and achieve personal goals, and want to be able to balance their ambitions with having and caring for children. We also can’t ignore the barriers that prevent women from having children at the time that is right for them. The high cost of childcare, maternity discrimination, and how difficult it is to afford housing are all factors that influence and indeed hinder women’s reproductive choices. Financial factors weigh heavily on family planning decisions, and many women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy will tell BPAS that they want to start or expand their families but feel unable to do so because money is so tight at the moment.

“There is no ‘right time’ to have a child, and no ‘right number’ of children to have. Women and their partners must be supported to make decisions according to their own circumstances to achieve the families they want. However, there is much more the government can and should be doing to shore up support for those who do decide to have children, including affordable childcare, comprehensive maternity support in the workplace, and especially fair access to fertility services.”



The full ONS report, Births in England and Wales, is online here.

For further information, please contact Katherine O’Brien, BPAS Associate Director of Campaigns and Communications, on katherine.o’brien@bpas.org or 07881 265276.

About BPAS

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service, BPAS, is a charity that sees over 100,000 women a year for reproductive healthcare services including pregnancy counselling, abortion care, miscarriage management and contraception at clinics across Great Britain.

BPAS exists to further women’s reproductive choices. We believe all women should have the right to make their own decisions in and around pregnancy, from the contraception they use to avoid pregnancy right the way through to how they decide to feed their newborn baby, with access to evidence-based information to underpin their choices and high-quality services and support to exercise them.

BPAS also runs the Centre for Reproductive Research and Communication, CRRC. Through rigorous multidisciplinary research and impactful communication, the CRRC aims to inform policy, practice, and public discourse. You can find out more here.