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Release: Further Parental Characteristics, England and Wales, 2011

Released: 07 March 2013 Next edition: 05 December 2013


Elizabeth McLaren

Vital Statistics Outputs Branch

Telephone: +44 (0)1329 444110

Categories: Births and Fertility, Live Births and Stillbirths, Live Births, Population

Frequency of release: Annually

Language: English

Geographical coverage: England and Wales

Geographical breakdown: Country

  • The standardised mean age of all fathers at the birth of their child has increased by nearly two years over the last two decades from 30.8 years in 1991 to 32.6 in 2011. The standardised mean age of mother increased by a similar amount over the same period, from 27.7 in 1991 to 29.7 in 2011.

  • For men, the 30–34 age group had the highest fertility rate in 2011, the same age group that had the highest fertility rate for women. Previously, men in their mid-to-late twenties had the highest fertility rate but were overtaken in 1993 by men in their early thirties. The same trend occurred among women a decade later, with the fertility of women in their early thirties overtaking that of women in their mid-to-late twenties in 2004.

  • Nearly two-thirds (62%) of babies born within marriage in 2011 had fathers aged 30-39. In contrast only 35% of babies born outside of marriage/civil partnership had fathers aged 30-39.

  • In 2011, 4.0% of babies born outside of marriage/civil partnership had fathers aged under 20, a small decrease compared with 4.4% in 2010.

Presents data on live birth registrations in England and Wales by parental characteristics. This package contains age-specific fertility rates for men, the mean age of father, and paternities within/outside marriage. See Characteristics of Mother 1 and 2 for birth statistics by age of mother, type of registration (within marriage, joint, sole) and number of previous liveborn children.

Before 2009, tables were published as part of annual publication Birth statistics, England and Wales (Series FM1). The data years available include 1998 - 2008. There is a lookup table (44.1 Kb Pdf) to show how the current birth tables relate to former Series FM1 tables.

During May 2012 changes were made to the Population Statistics Act 1938, which means that information on the number of previous children and whether previously married is now collected from all mothers at birth registration and not just from married women. This will have an impact on a number of tables and proposals for changes (66.2 Kb Pdf) to outputs for 2012 and 2013 data are available on the ONS website. Feedback from users is welcome.

For information on data quality, legislation and procedures relating to birth statistics, please see Births Metadata (412.8 Kb Pdf) and Births Quality and Methodology Information (258.6 Kb Pdf) .

There is an interactive mapping tool which enables trends in fertility to be analysed at the local level.

The Vital Statistics: Population and Health Reference Tables provide quarterly and annual births data for the United Kingdom and its constituent countries.

For data for other UK countries please see the latest birth statistics for Northern Ireland and the latest birth statistics for Scotland.

We welcome feedback on the content, format and relevance of this release.

The United Kingdom Statistics Authority has designated these statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:

  • meet identified user needs;
  • are well explained and readily accessible;
  • are produced according to sound methods; and
  • are managed impartially and objectively in the public interest.

Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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