- EXCLUSIVE: Dr Brit Ray says UK’s declining fertility is due to eco-concern
- ONS data shows fertility rate per woman fell to record low 1.58 children in 2020
- Four in ten young people are afraid to have children because of climate change
Experts believe that climate change is behind the decline in the British fertility rate.
Researchers who track births in Western countries say adults are no longer willing to bring children into the world because of post-apocalyptic global warming warnings.
Dr Brit Ray, a human and planetary health fellow at Stanford University, described it as “the fear of a bad future due to climate change”.
She told MailOnline that she felt it was “playing a role in declining birth rates in many countries around the world”.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed yesterday that the overall fertility rate fell to just 1.58 children per woman in 2020 – the lowest since records began in 1938.
Meanwhile, the ONS claimed that fertility rates are declining for several other reasons, including better access to contraception, women who delay motherhood and have fewer children.
But Dr. Ray and other academics believe that climate change is also to blame.
She was one of the authors behind a study that found that four in ten young people are afraid to bring children into the world because of climate concerns.
The findings, published as a preprint in the Lancet last month, were based on a survey of 10,000 16-25-year-olds.
About six out of 10 people were very or very concerned about climate change. More than eight out of ten said they were at least moderately concerned.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows the total fertility rate fell to 1.58 children per woman in 2020 – the lowest since records began in 1938
This graph shows the estimated total fertility rate from 2004 to 2020 – how many children each woman has on average. third year in a row. The fertility rate dropped to 1.58 for women born in the UK, while it rose to 1.98 for those born elsewhere.
She said: ‘Recent research on the psychological effects of climate change suggests that people’s concerns about global warming may be part of the story.
‘A survey of 2,000 Americans last year found that 78 percent of Gen Xers are not planning to have – or don’t want – children because of climate change.
Dr Brit Ray (pictured), a Stanford University human and planetary health fellow, said Britain’s decline in fertility is likely due to concerns about the future that will be left for children.
A more in-depth social scientific survey, also from last year, sought to understand the “eco-reproductive concerns” of 607 climate-care Americans.
They found that 96.5 percent of respondents were “very” or “extremely concerned” about the well-being of their children or imaginary children, about feelings that could lead to their decisions to limit the number of children, or not to reproduce at all. contributed to.
‘Considering the trajectory the science tells us we’re on, people’s climate concerns and their relationship to fertility decisions makes sense.’
The research agreed with analysts at investment bank Morgan Stanley, who told investors in July that climate change was the main driver behind the decline in birth rates, affecting fertility “faster than any preceding trend.”
He said: ‘The fear of climate change is increasing the movement to not have children and is affecting fertility rates faster than any previous trend in the region of declining fertility rates.’
ONS figures show that there were 613,936 live births in England and Wales in 2020, a decrease of 4.1 percent from 2019.
This is the fifth year in a row that the number of births has declined and it is the lowest since 2002.
Last year 29.3 per cent of live births were among women who were born outside the UK.
The ONS said this is the highest since records began in 1969 and is part of normal long-term growth.
At a time when the rate for UK-born women dropped to 1.50, the total fertility rate for foreign-born mothers rose slightly to 1.98.
Pakistan was the most common country of birth for both non-UK born mothers and fathers for the first time since 2009. The second most common country for both parents was Romania.
Last year there were 2,371 stillbirths in England and Wales, which is 3.8 per 1,000 births, the figures show.
This is down from 3.9 live births per 1,000 births in 2019.
The average age of new mothers is 30.7 years – the same as in 2019, after a gradual increase from 1973.
Key findings of new UN climate science report
– It is ‘obvious’ that human activity has warmed the atmosphere, oceans and land – with widespread and rapid change around the world.
– Many changes are unprecedented over several centuries to many thousands of years, with the world warming at an unprecedented rate over at least 2,000 years.
Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have been around for over three million years and methane concentrations over 800,000 years, both well above natural changes in greenhouse gases observed over hundreds of thousands of years.
Global average temperatures were about 1.1C higher in the last decade than in pre-industrial times, or the period 1850–1900, driven by emissions from human activities such as burning fossil fuels and deforestation.
Human-caused climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region around the world, with strong evidence of more frequent or intense heatwaves, heavy rains, droughts and tropical cyclones driving change. Man’s role.
Humans are likely to be the main driver of the global retreat of glaciers, declining sea ice, warming of the oceans and rising sea levels. The rate of sea level rise is…