Declining birth rate ‘could have impact on the working-age population later on’

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JERSEY’S birth rate is continuing to fall, according to a new report.

The rate in the Island last year was 8.1 live births per 1,000 of the population, compared to 11.4 per 1,000 in 2012, the Births and Breastfeeding report has revealed.

The report also states that the Island’s fertility rate is at its lowest for 20 years, with an average of 1.32 births per woman between 2020 and 2022 – which is lower than in England and Wales.

Public health director Professor Peter Bradley (pictured) said: ‘A lower birth rate could have an impact in a few decades’ time on the number of adults of working age.

‘Jersey’s population depends not just on those born here but those migrating in, or out, so it’s not possible to draw concrete conclusions about the impact of declining birth rates on the future dependency ratio.’

Professor Bradley added: ‘For this report, we haven’t undertaken any research into the reasons why the birth rate is declining.

‘However, birth rates have declined across England and Wales over the last decade too, as shown in the profile, so it’s not something that’s unique to Jersey.’

The report has also shown the number of women giving birth aged 30 to 39 had risen by 15% between 2020 and 2022.

The report stated: ‘The average age of mothers giving birth in Jersey was 33 years in 2022; in England and Wales the average age of women at childbirth was 31 years in 2021.’

The number of babies being breastfed has remained stable over the last ten years.

The report revealed that 67% of babies were being breastfed at discharge from maternity in 2022 – a similar proportion to that seen in each year since 2011.

Professor Bradley said: ‘Breastfeeding has benefits for both babies and mothers.

‘While the analysis for this report didn’t involve researching why more mothers are choosing to breastfeed, we do know that services in Jersey continue to work hard to promote the benefits of breastfeeding and support mothers choosing to breastfeed.’

The report says that there were fewer conceptions for women aged 17 and under in Jersey compared to the UK.

There were an average of 7.7 conceptions per 1,000 women under 17 in Jersey between 2020 and 2022, compared to 15.1 in the UK.

In addition, the Island’s infant mortality rate was lower than the UK.

The report continues: ‘The infant mortality rate in Jersey was 2.3 deaths per 1,000 live births during the three-year period 2020–2022.

‘England had an infant mortality rate of 3.9 per 1,000 live births in 2019–2021.’

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