More than a third of Bedford births were to mothers born outside the UK

Data shows EU was most common region

Wednesday, 29th July 2020, 12:15 pm

More than a third of births in Bedford last year were to mothers born outside the UK, new figures reveal.

Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that non-UK-born women living in Bedford gave birth to 719 children in 2019 – 34.3 per cent of all deliveries.

That was up from 2018, when 31.5 per cent of births were to mothers born abroad.

Although the number of women giving birth in the town has decreased, the number of women who were born abroad and have given birth in Bedford has increased

Across England and Wales, the proportion of births to foreign-born mothers rose from 28.2 per cent to 28.7 per cent last year – the highest rate since records began in 1969 and continuing a general long-term increase.

The ONS said a rise in the proportion of births to non-UK-born mothers "coincides with increases in immigration since the 1990s, where more international migrants have entered the UK for work and study reasons".

It added that migration has contributed to the number of births remaining higher than the number of deaths, despite fertility rates nearing their lowest level since records began.

A June report by Georgina Sturge, migration and justice statistics specialist at the House of Commons Library, said the UK’s migrant population is concentrated in London – more than a third of people living in the UK who were born abroad live in the capital.

Data shows that in Bedford, the most common region of origin for non-UK-born mothers giving birth was the EU – 322 births were to mothers born there.

A further 50 were from European countries outside of the EU, 224 from the Middle East and Asia, 105 from Africa and 18 from elsewhere.

Overall, 2,098 Bedford women gave birth last year, a decrease from 2018.

The figures include long-time residents who moved here when they were younger, as well as those who moved to the UK more recently, the ONS said.

Across England and Wales, Poland remained the most common country of birth for mothers born outside the UK, while Pakistan was the most popular country of birth among non-UK-born fathers.

There were around 640,000 births in the two countries last year, although this includes a small number of mothers whose usual residence was elsewhere.

This was down from 657,000 the year before.