The proportion of women who reach the end of their childbearing years with one child has increased to 18%, and for the first time in decades the one child family has become the second most common family size among those who have completed their reproductive years. For women born in 1970, the most recent cohort to have completed their families, 2 child families remain the most common (37%), while the number of families with 3 children has declined (17%). This is the first time since women born in 1930 completed their families that 1 child families have been so prevalent.
A bpas spokesperson said:
"The reasons for the growth in one child families, at the same time as families with more than 2 children have declined, will be diverse. Affordability may be one factor, with the costs of childcare in particular a key issue for working parents. Women are starting their families later, relationships can break down, and for some women a difficult first birth will deter them from future pregnancies. But we should also remember that for many couples having one child is a choice they have freely made, giving them the ability to invest in that child both financially and emotionally as they feel is right. Swift and straightforward access to contraception and abortion care, as well as assisted reproduction services for those struggling to conceive, are essential if women are to plan and achieve the families they want.”