ONS data shows live births and stillbirths increased in England and Wales in 2021

on 09 August 2022

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on births in England and Wales shows live births increased in 2021, but the stillbirth rate also increased during the same period.

The figures show there were 624,828 live births in England and Wales, and increase of 1.8 per cent compared to 2020. This is still below 657,076 recorded in 2019.

It also shows the total fertility rate (TFR) has risen for the first time since 2012, with 2021 figures showing the TFR increasing to 1.61 per children per woman from 1.58 recorded in 2020.

However, younger age groups saw the TFR decline while older age groups saw the rate increase.

There were 2,597 stillbirths in England and Wales in 2021, bringing the stillbirth rate up from 3.8 per 1,000 total births recorded in 2020 to 4.1.

Figures have been affected due to birth registrations being delayed in 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commenting on the report, Executive Director for the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Birte Harlev-Lam said: "

“England’s maternity services are under massive and increasing pressures as births rise and serious midwife shortages worsen. On top of this there is significant underinvestment from the Government. Maternity services are caught in a vicious cycle. The strain on services is leading to midwives leaving the NHS, worsening the shortage, putting more pressure on those remaining, making them in turn more likely to vote with their feet.

“This is directly affecting the safety and quality of care for women, babies, and their families. The situation is spiralling out of control and needs significant and urgent investment from the Government right now. There should be klaxons sounding, alarm bells ringing and red lights flashing across the Government warning them of the seriousness of the situation, and one that is deteriorating rapidly.”

The full report of births in England and Wales for 2021 can be found on the Office for National Statistics website here.