More than one in five babies in the UK is born to a migrant mother
By STEVE DOUGHTY
28th March 2008
More than 20 per cent of babies in Britain are born to immigrant mothers, figures revealed yesterday.
In London, over half of children are born to mothers who hail from abroad.
The breakdown from the Government's Office for National Statistics showed that the proportion of children born to immigrant families has shot up over the past few years.
More than 20 per cent of babies born in the UK are born to immigrant parents
In the late 1990s, when the immigration boom ushered in by Tony Blair's election was just beginning, around 13 per cent of all babies in Britain were born to mothers who came from abroad.
The percentage rose rapidly after 1998 and passed the 20 per cent level in 2005.
According to the latest count, based on 2006 birth returns, 21 per cent of babies in the UK have mothers who were born abroad.
In England the level is close to a quarter, at 23 per cent. But in London 53 per cent of children have mothers from abroad.
A report by the ONS said: “This is the highest proportion since the collection of the parents' country of birth at birth registration was introduced in 1969.
“The increase continues the marked rise over the last decade: the proportion of births to mothers from outside the UK has risen from 13 per cent in 1996.”
The report also said that among births where details of fathers were included on the registration form, 15 per cent showed that both parents had been born abroad.
This suggests that around a third of foreign-born mothers who have children have a husband or partner who is British-born, the ONS said.
It added that the greatest increase in babies born to mothers from abroad had come among mothers in their late 20s and early 30s. Among babies born to mothers aged between 25 and 30, more than a quarter, 26 per cent, are born to mothers born in foreign countries.
The figures tally with information on immigration which suggest the majority of new arrivals in the country are in their 20s.
The Government's critics on migration warned yesterday that the figures show there is a growing risk to good integration in towns and cities.
Sir Andrew Green of the Migrationwatch think-tank said: “This is quite incontrovertible evidence of the massive impact of unlimited immigration on the whole nature of our society. It is absolutely essential that strict limits are placed on immigration if public confidence is to be restored.”
The new figures also show that 44 per cent of babies are now born outside marriage. Across large areas of the country, the majority of babies are born to unmarried mothers: 55 per cent in the North East, 53 per cent in Wales and 50 per cent in the North West.
However in London, where most babies are now born to foreign-born mothers, only just over a third – 36 per cent – of babies are born outside marriage.
The low number of babies born outside marriage in the capital suggests that new immigrants cleave to traditional ideas of family life and do not scorn the advantages of legal marriage.
In some London boroughs the proportion of babies with foreign-born mothers is more than two thirds. Recent figures show that in the East London borough of Newham, 71 per cent of new mothers were born abroad. This was followed by Tower Hamlets (69 per cent) and Brent (68).
Outside London, Slough in Berkshire had the second highest rate of births to foreign-born mothers, at 48 per cent. It was followed by Luton, with 44 per cent.
Leicester and Birmingham, fourth and sixth respectively on the list, have been tipped to become the first cities in the country with a non-white majority.
The ONS said that the 44 per cent overall level of births outside marriage compares with 36 per cent of babies born to unmarried mothers in 1996.