Over 50% of London babies have mothers born outside the UK

Baby hand

More than half the babies in London last year were born to mothers who were from outside the UK. Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that 58% of new Londoners had mothers who were born outside the UK.  That’s more than double the national rate as across the country non-UK mums account for 27% of births.

In 3 boroughs, Newham, Westminster and Brent, three quarters of the births were to mothers from outside the UK. Since 2004 Newham has had the highest rate in the country for births by women born overseas. Last year it was 76.4%.

The boroughs with the lowest rates of births to mothers born overseas are Havering, Bromley and Bexley. With 28% non UK-born mothers Havering comes closest to the national average.

Mothers born outside UK

National data shows that Poland, Pakistan and India are the most common countries of birth for mothers who are not UK-born. The Polish-born population of the UK has increased 10-fold in the past 10 years.

Of the 127,000 babies born in London in 2014, 25,000 had mothers born in Asia or the Middle East, 20,000 had mothers born in the EU, the majority in newer EU members, which includes Poland, and nearly 17,000 had mothers from Africa.

Across London the most common region of birth for mothers from outside the UK varies from borough to borough. In 6 of the 14 inner London boroughs, including Haringey and Islington, it is the EU. In 10 of the 19 outer London boroughs, including Hillingdon, Harrow, Redbridge and Sutton, it is Asia and the Middle East. For 8 boroughs, including Lewisham, Southwark and Barking and Dagenham, it is Africa.

Source data

See also

Muhammad and Amelia top London’s baby name charts, again

Fewer babies born last year but birth rates vary across city

Our multi-lingual city – English second language for half of primary pupils

Fewer babies born last year but birth rates vary across city

Baby handThe number of children born in London fell marginally last year to 127,399, a reduction of 0.7% on 2013.

Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that the birth rate has fallen for a second year. The ONS uses a measure called GRF (general rate of fertility) to measure the number of births per 1,000 women in the 15-44 age group. The rate for the whole of London is 63.3, a little above the average for England of 62.2 and the third highest in the country.

births natonally

But the overall rate hides a large variation across the city. The birth rate in the inner London boroughs is 56.5, and the differences become starker when looked at on a borough-by-borough level.

London has a central core of 4 boroughs where the birth rate is much lower. In the City of London, Camden, Westminster and Islington rates are below 50 per 1000 women. But in several outer boroughs, notably Barking & Dagenham and Newham the rate is over 75. Barking & Dagenham has the 4th highest GFR in England.

births london

The proportion of births to mothers born outside the UK went up slightly to 27% nationally in 2014. This has increased every year since 1990 and has a particular impact in London where there is a large overseas-born population.

Source data

See also

London drives UK population growth

Younger workforce makes capital’s population pensioner poor

Booming population will struggle to find a place to live

A London exodus? But wait, isn’t the population growing?

M25 near HeathrowThe “exodus” of Londoners to provincial pastures new is a familiar story and it received further validation with the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics. The ONS gathers data on how people move across the regions of England and Wales, and London was the clear loser.

In 2014 nearly 273,000 people headed out of the capital while 204,000 arrived, a net reduction of nearly 70,000. But at the same time the population of London grew by 487,000 meaning London alone accounted for nearly half the population rise of the UK, as previously reported by Urbs.

So if there are so many people leaving that it is considered by some to be an exodus is the population simply growing because those left behind are having more babies? Well yes, but as usual, it’s a little more complex than that. So to help understand the picture more fully Urbs looked at a number of pieces of data.

London loses more people to other areas than any other region of England and Wales. Last year the only other areas that had a net reduction in people moving to or from other parts of the country were Yorkshire, the North West of England and the West Midland.

exodus 1

When those figures are expressed in terms of people per 1,000 head of population the difference between London and the rest of the country is very clear, and it appears that many are boosting the population of the South West.

exodus 2

This movement out of London to elsewhere in the country is an established lifecycle pattern documented by the ONS. Many young Londoners leave the city for higher education; many more arrive looking for jobs after graduation. People then move out in their 30s and 40s when they’ve had children.

This behaviour affects the demographic profile which leads to a growing population. Tower Hamlets, for example, had net outward migration but it also has the youngest age profile of the boroughs in the capital with an average age of just 31, as reported here.

So more babies yes, and people are living longer. London has a lower proportion of over 65s than the UK but the city has seen some of the highest rises in life expectancy among men, and women in London have the longest life expectancy in the UK.

The other big factor that the “exodus” idea does not account for is people from overseas. London is a truly multi-national city and last year half of all new Londoners, 244,000 people, were born outside the UK. As the ONS has recognised: “London is also the most common region of first residence for international migrants to the UK and some of these may later move to other regions, potentially also with children.” In other words, they do the same as many of the rest of us.

This story would not be complete without the well-worn quote from Dr Johnson of “when a man is tired of London he is tired of life.” While many are getting tired it would appear that many more have what Iggy Pop called a Lust for Life….in London.

Migrations data

Population data

Life expectancy data

See also

London drives UK population growth

Younger workforce makes capital’s population pensioner poor

Go east young man – it’s where young London lives

Women in London will live longer than anywhere in the UK


Baby booming Wandsworth is the city’s kiddie capital

Mum wiht baby in buggie-1Anyone who has walked down the Northcote Road in Battersea on a Saturday morning will tell you that there are a lot of children in the neighbourhood.  It is pretty self evident from the numbers of buggies that you need to navigate as you take in the area’s cafe culture.

The area which lies between Clapham Common and Wandsworth Common has been dubbed Nappy Valley and the epithet is certainly supported by the data.  Analysis by Urbs of child benefit data shows that Wandsworth, where Nappy Valley is situated,  has the highest proportion of children under 4 in London.  37% of the children in the borough are babies and pre-school kids. That’s a third higher than the national average of 20%.  The rate for London is 31%.

under 4s in London map

While Wandsworth has the highest proportion of tiny Londoners, for sheer numbers of children Croydon takes the prize. The borough has 95,000 under 18s, beating Barnet with 90,000 and Newham with 85,000.

If you want to avoid children then head to the City of London.  The high proportion of under 4s on our map, while accurate, may be misleading as the square mile is home to just 885 kids.

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