Fertility rate highest for 27 years

Women are choosing to have more babies than at any time since 1980, according to official figures, which hint at the first baby boom of the 21st century.


The fertility rate – the number of births per woman – rose from 1.8 babies per woman in 2005 to 1.87 in 2006, the fifth annual rise in a row and the most babies born in a single year since 1993, the Office for National Statistics said.


The figures suggest that older mothers and migrant families are increasingly making up for younger British-born women choosing to have fewer babies.


Economists welcomed the news, saying that low birth rates are storing problems for the future when there will be too few taxpayers to support an ageing population, while fertility experts warned that women are risking infertility by having babies later.

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