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Births and deaths


Source: Office for National Statistics – Vital statistics in the UK: births, deaths and marriages


  • The chart shows the number of live births and deaths in the United Kingdom from 1930 to 2021.
  • For England and Wales, birth statistics are based on the number of births occurring in the year, while Scotland and Northern Ireland statistics relate to the number of births registered in the year. In England and Wales, where a birth is registered too late to be included in the count for the year of occurrence, it will be included in the count for the following year.
  • Death statistics are based on the number of deaths registered in the year, rather than deaths occurring in a calendar year.


Key dates 
1939 - 1945Second World War
Introduction of the contraceptive pill
Family Planning Act
Made contraception readily available through the NHS.
Abortion Act
Legalised abortion under 28 weeks free on the NHS.



This page is part of Our Changing Society, a free resource developed by CLOSER to provide detailed information about the historical and political backdrop to study participants’ lives.

CLOSER’s mission is to increase the visibility, use and impact of longitudinal population studies, data and research to ensure that longitudinal evidence is used to address the health, social, economic and environmental challenges facing the UK, now and in the future.

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