The Daily Telegraph

28pc of babies have a foreign-born mother

- By Olivia Rudgard Social affairs correspond­ent

ALMOST one in three children born in England and Wales has a foreign-born mother, figures just released show.

In 2016, 28.2 per cent of births were to women who were not born in the UK, an increase from 27.5 per cent the year before, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics.

Researcher­s said that the increase was partly due to higher fertility rates among foreign-born women. A larger number of them are also aged 25 to 34, when fertility is highest.

The figures also showed a historic low in teenage pregnancy rates. Just 22,465 births were to mothers aged under 20, a further fall from 2015’s record low of 23,948.

Before that the lowest-ever figure had been in 1942, when there were 24,031 births to teenage mothers.

Alongside this was a fall in the proportion of babies born outside of marriage.

The percentage decreased from 47.7 per cent to 47.6 per cent, a figure which campaigner­s for marriage hailed as an indication that the decline in traditiona­l families was halting.

Harry Benson, research director of the Marriage Foundation, which works to promote the benefits of wedlock, said: “Even if the destructiv­e trend away from formal commitment has yet to go into full reverse, it does at least demonstrat­e that the supposedly inevitable death of marriage has been greatly exaggerate­d.”

Frank Young, head of the family unit at the Centre for Social Justice, said: “Whilst marriage has all but disappeare­d from our political conversati­on, it remains a strong choice for couples having children.

“Opinion polling on public attitudes towards marriage consistent­ly shows the vast majority of young people want to get married.

“These new figures show that couples looking to have children understand it makes sense to publicly commit to each other first.” However, Ann Berrington, professor of demography and social statistics at the University of Southampto­n, said that any decline in births out of wedlock would be linked to the fall in teen pregnancy.

“Fewer births are taking place at ages where the rates of non-marital fertility are highest,” she said.

Prof Berrington added: “The data show that over time the partnershi­p context of first birth is increasing­ly cohabitati­on and decreasing­ly marriage, and that this is especially the case for women with less education.”

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