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UK Population Case study
Context     Promotion of fertility   Birth Control   Death rates   Migration

Background data – 2009 CIA factbook

Total population (millions)


Birth rate

Death Rate

Infant Mortality  Rate per 1000

Number of people per doctor

%  0-14

% 65+

Dependency Ratio

Population growth rate

Migration rate (per 1000)

Life expectancy

Fertility rate

Male –female ratio

















The UK has a declining birth rate within its indigenous population BUT has a birth rate above replacement rate within its migrant population, particularly mothers who were born in India, Pakistan and Poland.  Therefore, on balance the UK has a slow growth birth rate.  Life expectancy is increasing and has done so for many decades.  This means that the UK has a slowly ageing population and the potential for decline in the working population creating a higher dependency ratio and potential problems.

Population pyramid of the UK


Birth rate trends and management

The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) in the UK reached 1.96 children per woman in 2008, the highest level since 1973.

The last three decades have seen strong upward trends in the fertility of UK women in their thirties and forties. Women aged 30-34 have experienced the greatest absolute increase in fertility over this period, with rates rising from 64.1 births per 1,000 women in 1978 to 113.1 in 2008. As a consequence, women aged 30-34 have had the highest fertility of any age group since 2004.

In 2008, the mean age for giving birth in the UK was 29.3 years, while in 1978 the mean age was almost three years lower (26.7 years).

There are a plethora of management strategies and laws relating to the control of Birth rates in the UK. The first set aims to promote fertility and maintain an economically BALANCED population, most of these tend to be financial incentives to parents to have children;

1.     Child Trust Fund – Every child In the UK was given £250 to invest in a savings account or shares at birth, plus at least another £250 when they reach the age of 7.  The parents of the child can also save £1,200 into that account TAX FREE. This scheme has now stopped due to spending cuts

2.    Child Benefit – this benefit is available to many parents up to a certain income level.  The rates are shown below;

Who the allowance is for

Current weekly amount

Eldest or only child


Additional children - per child


3.    Child Tax Credits – parents below a certain threshold of income can claim tax back in the form of child tax credits.  This is designed to allow people to have children but also continue to work – improving the dependency ratio.

4.    Childcare vouchers – This scheme allows parents to remove £243 of salary a month before they pay any tax on it – thereby saving money.  This money is given to the parent as a child care voucher, which can be used to pay for child care.  This can save up to £1,000 a year in tax payments.  The government is planning to phase these out by 2011.

5.    Pregnancy grant – Health in Pregnancy Grant is a one-off, tax-free payment of £190 if you're a mum-to-be who's at least 25 weeks pregnant

6.    Statuary Maternity and Paternity Leave – this is time off for new parents, a woman can take 52 weeks and a man 2 weeks, the woman can receive money as well during her time off (statutory maternity pay) of around £100 a week.

Restricting birth rates

These strategies are all about controlling the age of conception and spacing births so that mothers are healthy. 

The 1967 abortion act – this legalised abortion in the UK for the first time, in the past abortion was illegal and carried the death penalty (under the  Ellenborough Act of 1803). 195,000 abortions were carried out in the UK in 2008.

The NHS has numerous schemes designed to restricting the numbers of births and targets particular age groups.  Teenagers are targeted and a range of contraceptive advice is given.  Condoms, the pill, injections etc are amongst some of the methods freely available to allow would be parents the power to  choose when conception takes place.

Religion used to promote a higher birth rate, but the influence of this ahs fallen within the UK as congregation numbers and religious beliefs falter.


Death rate trends, life expectancy and management

Over the past 3 centuries communicable diseases and fatalities from starvation have fallen, life expectancy has gone up, and death rates have fallen and finally stabilised.  However, many people still die of either life style diseases or cancers, and it is these that the government of the UK targets.

The NHS was created in 1948 – unifying all of the doctors and hospitals into one nationwide service in the UK for the first time.  Life expectancy has gone from 66 to 77 for men in the period since, and when the NHS was born, there were 34.5 deaths for every 1,000 live births. Today there are just five. The current budget for the NHS is £11 billion.

Various campaigns have been run to improve public health including anti-smoking campaigns.  In 1948, 65 per cent of Britain's male population smoked. By 2008 that number had dropped to just 25 per cent.  Taxation on smoking is also huge, in an attempt to cut consumption, and there are age restrictions on who can smoke. Various other campaigns have been run such as encouraging men to check for testicular cancers, whilst immunisations are freely available and encouraged.  A recent drive has been on to immunise teenage girls against Cervical Cancer (HPC).


Inequalities in Life expectancy do exist across the UK however.

Migration patterns and laws



Republic of Ireland: 494,850

India: 466,416

Pakistan: 320,767

Germany: 262,276

Caribbean: 254,740

USA: 155,030

Bangladesh: 154,201

South Africa: 140,201

Kenya: 129,356

Italy: 107,002


It is predicted by Migration Watch that immigration will raise the population of the UK by 7million over the next 20 years.  As one of the world's most prosperous and outward-looking nations, the UK has a leading role in managing migration. The Foreign Office claims that “we want borders that are open to those who bring skills, talent, business and creativity that boost our economy, but closed to those who might cause us harm or seek to enter illegally. We need to work with other countries to better understand and manage global migration.”

The UK legally accepts any member of an EU country who wants to work in this country, which led to the mass immigration of Polish people when they were allowed entry into the EU in 2004.  The UK is also committed to assisting genuine asylum seekers under the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002

However, the UK is not open to everybody and has committed to keeping out illegal immigrants and those that do not meet entry criteria.  There is also a citizenship test, called the “Life in  the UK test”, which was introduced in 2005.  All of my year 13 class and Mr Woodhams failed this test in 2009 (Mr Woodhams scored the lowest result!).

TAKE the UK citizenship TEST!