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Birth Rates

Volume 951: debated on Tuesday 13 June 1978

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2.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what estimate he has made of the proportion which births to mothers born in the New Commonwealth and Pakistan bore to total births during the last 10 years in Birmingham, Bradford, Huddersfield, Leicester, Wolverhampton and the boroughs comprised in the Inner London education area.

Information on births by birthplace of mother, which first became available in 1969, is published annually by the Registrar-General. As the answer involves a number of figures, I will, with permission, circulate a table in the Official Report.

Do not these proportions, already covering nearly 10 years, give a very good indication, at any rate as a minimum, of the eventual proportion of the total population in these areas which will be of New Commonwealth ethnic origin?

What they show is something very different from what I think the right hon. Gentleman has been suggesting. He picked his own years and his own areas. The figures show an average figure for New Commonwealth and Pakistan births of 22 per cent., which is far less than the figure of 33 per cent. to which the right hon. Gentleman has frequently referred. He should not assume that fertility rates in these ethnic communities will continue at a high level, nor that there will not be a movement of minority groups from one city to another, as is already happening. I point out to him that in many of the areas which he specified the proportion of births to New Commonwealth and Pakistan mothers went down during the period concerned. That includes the constituency that the right hon. Gentleman originally represented.

Will my right hon. Friend accept from me that the obsession which the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) has about the births of coloured people is not shared by human beings in general throughout the entire universe, and that women will go on having babies as long as there are men with them? Is it not about time that we thought about improving the lot of all human beings instead of being obsessed with this particular aspect, as the right hon. Gentleman is?

BIRTHS TO MOTHERS BORN IN THE NEW COMMONWEALTH AND PAKISTAN AS A PERCENTAGE OF ALL BIRTHS FOR SELECTED AREAS*. 1969 TO 1976

Area of usual residence of mother

1969

1970

1971

1972

1973

1974

1975

1976

Birmingham1920202022222324
Bradford1717171818191921
Kirklees1515151514151718
Leicester1819202325262830
Wolverhampton2625242525242725
Inner London Education Authority: Total2222222222222324
Camden1617151416151517
Greenwich999910111212
Hackney3232303432333435
Hammersmith2223212121212021
Islington2828292626252625
Kensinston and Chelsea1413121012121212
Lambeth3231303029302930
Lewisham2019201918202019
Southwark1818192020202121
Tower Hamlets1717182125272731
Wandsworth2727272826262929
City of Westminster and City of London1616151515161518
Total of above areas2121202121222323

* As constituted at 1st April 1974.

† April 1969 to March 1970.