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Fertility and population change in the United Kingdom

Sigle, Wendy (2016) Fertility and population change in the United Kingdom. In: Low Fertility, Institutions, and their Policies. Springer International Publishing, Cham, Switzerland, pp. 77-98. ISBN 9783319329970

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Identification Number: 10.1007/978-3-319-32997-0_4


As in most wealthy countries, the United Kingdom (UK) population is aging and is set to continue to age for the next several decades. Recent and projected rates of change in the share of the elderly population are slow, however, compared to most other European Union (EU)-27 countries. Although since 1998 net migration has played some role, the UK’s relatively benign demographic profile has much to do with its relatively high fertility rates. Population issues, low fertility in particular, are not considered to be a major policy concern or an appropriate target for government intervention. A combination of moderately high fertility and high female employment has (at least historically) been achieved without implementing the kinds of work-family reconciliation policies that are credited with sustaining fertility elsewhere in Europe. A laissez-faire approach to the economy and residual approach to welfare may well have sustained UK fertility levels by facilitating childbearing in more socio-economically disadvantaged families. Recent, path-deviant, work-family reconciliation policies have been adopted, but the wider institutional context has moderated their potential to reduce the costs of childbearing.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2016 Springer International Publishing Switzerland
Divisions: Gender Studies
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Sets: Departments > Gender Institute
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2018 13:44
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2018 16:06

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