It's that time of year, when we look at the ONS Population Trends.
2003 - 19% of births in England and Wales and 47% of births in London were to mothers themselves born outside the UK.
2004 - 20% of births in England and Wales and 49% of births in London were to mothers themselves born outside the UK.
This year's figures (pdf) are for 2005 - 21% of births in England and Wales and 51% of births in London were to mothers themselves born outside the UK.
The figures come with some commentary. British understatement is not dead.
The increase continues the marked rise in this proportion seen over the last decade: the proportion of births to mothers born outside the United Kingdom has risen from 13 per cent in 1995 to 21 per cent in 2005.
The trend does seem to be upwards.
When only those births that include the father’s details on the registration are considered, 21 per cent of births were to mothers born outside the United Kingdom and 15 per cent of births had both parents born outside the United Kingdom. These two proportions indicate that for a third of overseas-born mothers the child’s father was born in the United Kingdom.
Figure 7 shows that the majority of the increase over the last ten years in the proportion of live births to mothers born outside the United Kingdom is among women in their twenties and early thirties. The percentage of live births to mothers aged 25 to 29 born outside the United Kingdom has more than doubled since 1995 to 25 per cent in 2005.
So it has. It's young 'uns having the babies. Plenty of time to have more.
There's stacks of stuff in the report (a fair bit about migration and ethnicity), much of it gloomy for anyone who believes, as I do, that importing large numbers of people while making no effort to integrate them (indeed, while not even being sure that there is an existing culture to integrate to) is likely to lead to a lack of what's currently called 'community cohesion', with possible adverse consquences ranging from the kind of thing we're seeing in Fiji at present to the kind of thing we saw in the 1947 Punjab.
The fertility rates for the last 100 years are interesting. You can see the great boom after WWI and WWII, then the Sixties baby boom. Then something happens - several things, actually. The Pill, abortion more or less on demand, and the 60s cultural revolution. Fertility (TFR) drops by about 40% between 1957 and 1977, the time my generation should have been having their babies.
I was writing Christmas cards a few days back. While my circle of friends was probably more 'alternative' and 'radical' than most, and while a fair number have had kids, it's still sobering to contemplate such a number of intelligent, brave, creative women, now pushing 50, whose gifts and qualities will die with them.
Stephen Sizer in Tehran
2 hours ago