LONDON, June 28, 2002 ( – A British study has found that one in five women has not had a baby by the time they are 40 years of age, with the number of 40-year-old women without children now twice as high as it was 20 years ago.

The Office for National Statistics report also shows that those who do start families are having far fewer children. According to this latest report, two out of three women born in the 1970s have yet to have children, compared to women born in the early 1960s, half of whom had families by the time they were 25. The average birth rate in the UK is now just 1.64 children, the lowest level since 1924.

Women are also opting for smaller families. Among current 40-year-olds, just one in 10 has four or more children. Twenty years ago, that figure was one in five. Two out of every five births are now outside marriage – up one third in 10 years. In 1977, just one in 10 babies was born outside marriage.

In a remarkable understatment, a spokeswoman for the Family Planning Association said the figures reflected changes and increased choices in British society.


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