For the first time since records began, more babies will be born out of wedlock in England and Wales in 2021.
New statistics show that the number of births to mothers who are unmarried or not in a civil partnership has surpassed the number of births to mothers in such relationships.
However, the number coincides with COVID-19 lock the door, when weddings and civil partner ceremonies are not allowed.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) says there are already 624,828 live births registered in England and Wales by 2021.
This includes 320,713 live births to women who were not married or in a civil partnership when they gave birth – 51.3% of the total – compared with 304,115 live births to married parents. or civil relations.
This is the first time since the counting of such statistics began in 1845.
Dr James Tucker, head of health analytics at the ONS, said the figures follow “a long-term trend of declining marriage rates and an increasing number of cohabiting couples in recent decades.” .
“However, caution should be exercised in interpreting the numbers today, as we do not yet know the full impact of the pandemic on the marriage and civil partnership statistics.”
Long term trend
The figures also show the birth rate increased for the first time since 2012 – to 1.61 children per woman in 2021 from 1.58 in 2020.
The rate in 2021 is still lower than in 2019.
624,828 live births were registered in 2021, an increase of 1.8% compared to 2020.
This is the first annual increase in live births since 2015, although it is still lower than the number of children registered in 2019.
And the latest year “remains in line” with the long-term decline in live births since before the coronavirus pandemic, the ONS said.
ONS figures are based on birth registration, and the delay means some births in 2021 may not be covered.
It is based on interim data, based on NHS birth announcement data, published by the ONS in March.
In the overall increase in fertility, it decreased in the younger group and increased in the older women.
The biggest drop was among women and girls under 20 years old (16%), while women aged 35 to 39 saw a 5% increase in fertility.
Birth rates will increase across all parts of England by 2021, with the exception of London and the West Midlands.
The figures also show that there will be 2,597 stillbirths in 2021, an increase of 226 cases compared to 2020.