Does declining birth rate spell doom for Britain?

Ageing population puts pressure on welfare state, economy and fabric of society, while fertility is rising on populist agendas

Pregnancy tests toppling in a row
At the current trajectory, the UK's natural population will start to decline in 2025, shrinking the future workforce
(Image credit: Illustrated / Getty Images)

The number of babies born in England and Wales is at its lowest level in two decades, echoing a trend in the developed world and sparking fears of a "slow-motion crisis" for future generations.

Just over 600,000 children were born in 2022, according to the Office for National Statistics – down about 3% from 2021, the so-called Covid baby boom, and the lowest total since 2002. The country's birth rate is now "lower than during the 1930s Great Depression and almost as low as it was during the First World War (when many men were away)", said Vicky Spratt on the i news site. 

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