The number of infants in Kirklees has risen by nearly 11 per cent in just 10 years.
This month, the Office for National Statistics released a report which said the birth rate in the UK was now at its highest since 1972.
Births have risen steadily in Kirklees, as census figures show an increase in 0-4-year-olds from 25,544 in 2001, to 28,300 in 2011, a rise of 10.7 per cent.
When taking into account that figures for the total population in Kirklees have only risen by 8.7 per cent, this also shows a significant rise in the birth rate.This means more pressure on the council to provide children’s services in the future.
Kirklees Council cabinet member for children’s services coun Peter O’Neil maintained: “There are measures in place – we monitor birth rates in the area each year to make sure there are enough school places available.”
The ONS report showed that there were 813,200 UK births recorded last year which, in absolute terms, contributed more to the population growth than any other year since 1972.
The increase in births was also mirrored in figures from the Mid-Yorkshire NHS Trust – which includes Dewsbury and District Hospital – over this period. Births peaked at 6,700 in 2010/2011, rising by 200 from the previous year – an extra four babies per week – before returning to just under 6,500 the following year.
Reacting to the ONS’s UK-wide figures, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, Cathy Warwick said: “Births in England are continuing to boom, with the proportion of births to the oldest women growing faster than for younger women.
“This places considerable pressures on maternity services and we are struggling to provide high quality antenatal and postnatal care. Despite recent welcome increases in the numbers of midwives, there is still a shortage.”
The ONS report also found the increase in population of the UK was greater than that of any other European Union member state during the 12 months to June 30 2012.