Examine the main trends in births and deaths in the United Kingdom since 1900. (24 marks)
The birth rate is the amount of live births per 1000 per year. The death rate is the amount of deaths per 1000 per year. These statistics show that the rates are constantly changing patterns and they show that the rates are both decreasing.
The birth rate is in decline. There was a 0.3 per cent drop in the overall number of live births from 708,711 in 2008 to 706,248 in 2009 - the first annual drop since 2001. The rate is still in decline. There are many different reasons why this is happening. One reason is the changes in the position of women. They can finally go somewhere in life, rather than have to stay at home doing domestic work as they have broken through the ‘glass ceiling’. Another reason is the decline in ...view middle of the document...
In 2012, statistics show there being 700,000 babies born. This is the biggest amount since 1971.
The death rate is also in decline. There were 484,367 deaths registered in England and Wales in 2011 compared with 493,242 in 2010, a fall of 1.8%. There are also many reasons why there is such a decline. One reason is improved nutrition. McKeown argues that this is a major factor as it increased the chances of survival from infection. Another reason is medical improvements such as advances in antibiotics and research and higher standards in hospitals and the introduction of the NHS. Another reason is the public health measures and environmental improvements. More effective governments led to better housing, purer drinking water, improved sanitation and the Clean Air Acts reduced air pollution. Another reason is the decline in dangerous manual occupations such as mining. There are health and safety laws now to prevent harm. A final reason is people having smaller families and so infection is less likely to get passed on.
Currently, the population is growing older. Statistics show that in 1821 there were large numbers of young people but few survived to old age. 27% of the population was under 10 years old and 1% of the population was over 80 years old. In 2004, however, there were fewer young people but they survived longer. 12% of the population was under 10 years old and 4% over 80 years old. The reasons for this are the increase of life expectancy, the decline of the infant mortality rate and the decline in the fertility rate. This leads to an unbalanced society where there are a lot more old people than younger people.
In conclusion, the birth rate and the death rate are both in decline. There are different contributing factors for both situations and it seems that the trend is going to be continuous and so eventually the change from now to the future could be a huge difference, just like comparing now to 1900.