Births, deaths and fertility rates

Births and deaths have an impact on the national and local populations. The latest births and deaths figures from the Office for National Statistics (released July 2018), show that on a basic count level the Lancashire-12 area continues to register more live births than deaths each calendar year, but the total live birth count shows that the number of births recorded in 2017 was the lowest since 2006. There are some notable differences between the local authorities, with  Fylde, Lancaster, Ribble Valley, West Lancashire and Wyre all recording more deaths than births in 2017. Of the two unitary authorities, only Blackpool records more deaths than live births. 

Key findings

Births

The number of births in a given year is dependent on the number of women of childbearing age (15–44 years) and on fertility rates in that year, as well as annual changes in the size and age-structure of the female population, alongside migration and mortality. 

General fertility rate

The general fertility rate (GFR) is the total number of live births per 1,000 women of reproductive age (15 to 44 years) in a population per year. This is a more refined way to measure fertility in a population, rather than crude birth rate because the GFR accounts for the female population aged 15 to 44 years as the denominator, rather than the whole population. Despite this, differences in GFR may be due to underlying variations in the age structure of the female population over time or across populations of interest.

  • The latest figures give the Lancashire-12 area a GFR of 60.3 for the calendar year 2017, (England 61.2).
  • At a district level Burnley (75.1), Pendle (72.9), Hyndburn (72.8) and Preston (61.8) have a higher GFR.
  • Both the unitary authorities have a higher GFR (Blackburn with Darwen 69.6, Blackpool 68.4). 

Total fertility rate

The total fertility rate (TFR) is the average number of live children that a group of women would bear if they experienced the age-specific fertility rates of the calendar year in question, throughout their childbearing lifespan. 

  • Trend line analysis shows that over the past six years (2012-2017), Lancashire-12 has seen a slight decrease in its total fertility rate.
  • At a district level, there have been small decreases in all districts, except Burnley and Preston, which have recorded minimal increases. 

Studies suggest that without inward migration, population size decreases and population ageing accelerates when the TFR falls below 2.1 children per female[i]. This concept is known as replacement fertility and refers to the level of fertility required to ensure a population replaces itself in size.

  • Compared to the replacement fertility rate only Burnley, Hyndburn and Pendle have a TFR above 2.1, indicating that all other areas will require some form of inward migration in order to avoid population shrinkage and accelerated population ageing.

Deaths

  • In many of Lancashire-12's districts, the number of deaths recorded each year has increased, with the standardised mortality ratio (SMR) higher than England's rate (99) in all districts except Ribble Valley (92) and South Ribble (96). 

For more information about mortality rates across Lancashire-14, please see our mortality page. You may also be interested in our maternity and infancy pages.

There are also individual births and deaths graphs for every district in the Area Profiles section of Lancashire Insight.

Further analysis and data

 Births and deaths (XLSX 121 KB)

[1] Smallwood and Chamberlain. (2005). Replacement fertility, what has it been and what does it mean ? Office for National Statistics : Population trends. 119, 21-26.

Page updated October 2018