July 13, 2014

THE ANGLOSPHERIC DIFFERENCE:

The new baby boom (John McDermott, 7/11/14, Financial Times)

Today, the increase in British birth rates has ushered in another baby-centric age, one defined by three distinct aspects. More babies of different ethnicities are being born, challenging the very notion of an ethnic "minority". They are also part of a simultaneous parenting boom: people from an ever wider array of backgrounds can become parents of healthy babies. Finally, there is an intellectual boom: as scientists and policy makers - like their political forebears - seek to use our growing knowledge about how babies and their brains develop to improve education and curb inequality.

In 2001, the number of births in England and Wales hit a 25-year low of 595,000. In 2012, there were 730,000, a 22 per cent increase. The data defy predictions made by economists that the financial crisis would cause the number of births and total fertility rates to fall, as has indeed been the case in other parts of the European Union.

New immigrants are part of the explanation; two-thirds of Gascoigne parents are from overseas. More broadly, the number of children born to mothers who were themselves born outside the UK increased from 98,000 to 189,000 between 2001 and 2012. In that year, one-quarter of children (25.9 per cent) born in the UK had foreign mothers. In London, the figure was more than half.

But British-born mothers are also having more children than at any time since the early 1970s. Many second-generation migrants are reaching parenting age. At the same time, more women are giving birth in their mid-to-late thirties and forties. Areas such as London's Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Lambeth exemplify these trends; their populations have been increased by second-generation African, Asian and, in Hackney's case, Hasidic Jewish mothers in their early twenties, as well as an influx of white young professionals, who have children later.
Posted by at July 13, 2014 8:52 AM
  
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