New figures: childbearing for women born in different years, England and Wales: 2018

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04 December 2019
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New figures relating to childbearing for women born in different years have today been released by the Office For National Statistics.

The research from the Office For National Statistic shows the changing composition of families over time, comparing the fertility of women of the same age and the number of children they have had.

Key points
  • The average completed family size for women in England and Wales who reached age 45 years in 2018 (having been born in 1973) was 1.89 children per woman, unchanged from the previous cohort (women born in 1972); this is the lowest level since the series began. 
  • The proportion of women having just one child has risen in recent cohorts completing their childbearing (from 14% for women born in 1946 to 18% for women born in 1973), but two-children families remain the most common family size (37% for women born in 1973). 
  • Of the women who reached age 45 years in 2018, 19% were childless at the end of their childbearing years; this is more than double the proportion of childlessness (9%) in their mothers’ generation born in 1946 but is similar to levels seen for women born since the late 1950s. 
  • The most common age at childbirth for women born in 1973 was 31 years, compared with 24 years a generation before (women born in 1946). 
  • By age 30 years, 53% of women born in 1973 had at least one child, compared with 82% for their mother’s generation.

See the research in full on the ONS website.

QUICK LINK: Graphs on changing marriage figures