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Release: Characteristics of Birth 1, England and Wales, 2012

Released: 18 September 2013 Next edition: 24 September 2014


Elizabeth McLaren

Vital Statistics Outputs Branch

Telephone: +44 (0)1329 444110

Categories: Population, Births and Fertility, Live Births and Stillbirths, Maternities, Live Births, Stillbirths

Frequency of release: Annually

Language: English

Geographical coverage: England and Wales

Geographical breakdown: Region

  • There were 729,674 live births in England and Wales in 2012, compared with 723,913 in 2011 (a rise of 0.8%).

  • The numbers of stillbirths fell to 3,558 in 2012 from 3,811 in 2011 (a fall of 6.6%).

  • Stillbirths per 1,000 live births fell from 5.2 in 2011 to 4.9 in 2012. This is the lowest stillbirth rate since 1992 when it was 4.3.

  • In England and Wales 7.0% (50,918) of live births were low birthweight (under 2.5kg) in 2012.

In this release

Presents data on birth registrations in England and Wales by birth characteristics. This package contains summary statistics on stillbirths including figures by age of parents and quarter of occurrence. Tables also provide birthweight data for live and stillbirths by mother's area of usual residence and maternities, live births, and stillbirths in hospitals by area of occurrence. See Characteristics of Birth 2 for statistics on multiple births and place of birth.

Before 2009, tables were published as part of annual publication Birth statistics, England and Wales (Series FM1). The data years available include 1998 - 2008. There is a lookup table (44.1 Kb Pdf) to show how the current birth tables relate to former Series FM1 tables.

For information on data quality, legislation and procedures relating to birth statistics, please see Births metadata (332.6 Kb Pdf)  and Quality and Methodology Information for Birth Statistics (257.9 Kb Pdf) .

There is an interactive mapping tool which enables trends in fertility to be analysed at the local level. Fertility rates for 2002-2010 in this tool need to be recalculated using revised population estimates which take account of the 2011 Census. The tool will be updated in winter 2013/14, rates for the latest data years will also be added.

The Vital Statistics: Population and Health Reference Tables provide quarterly and annual births data for the United Kingdom and its constituent countries.

For data for other UK countries please see the latest birth statistics for Northern Ireland and the latest birth statistics for Scotland.

We welcome feedback on the content, format and relevance of this release.

The United Kingdom Statistics Authority has designated these statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:

  • meet identified user needs;
  • are well explained and readily accessible;
  • are produced according to sound methods; and
  • are managed impartially and objectively in the public interest.

Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
© Crown Copyright applies unless otherwise stated.