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Families

Volume 938: debated on Monday 7 November 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the average size of the family in 1940, 1950, 1955, 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975 ; and what is his estimate for 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995 and the year 2000.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 26th October 1977 ; Vol. 936, c. 759], gave the following information:Two possible measures of the average size of the family in England and Wales, the period fertility rate and a cohort fertility rate, are given below. The period rate is the average number of live born children per woman that would result if women were subject over their reproductive ages to the age-specific fertility rates—live births per woman in each age group—of the year in question. Actual figures of completed family size, reflecting the whole child-bearing experience can be given only for women who have reached.piddle-age. The period fertility rate is more volatile than the cohort rate.

Calendar yearActualTotal periodfertility ratein the yearAverage numberof live bornchildren towomen reachingage 45 inthe year
Actual(a)(b)
19401·742·15
19502·181·80
19552·221·80
19602·661·91
19652·862·00
19702·412·12
19751·792·34
Assumptions
19801·652·42
19852·062·38
19902·102·19
19952·101·93
20002·101·82
The assumptions for future fertility shown in column (a) are annual figures incorporated in the 1976-based official population projections ; the figures in column (b) for 1980 and 1985 largely reflect the actual child-bearing experience of those women now aged 41 or 36 years respectively, but from 1990 onwards they increasingly reflect assumptions about future fertility summarised in column (a).