The Office for National Statistics of the United Kingdom recently released updated figures for births and deaths in the country during 2014. The data show that there were 776,352 live births and 570,341 registered deaths in the year — decreases of 0.3 and 1.1 per cent respectively from 2013.
The decrease in live births reverses a trend of steadily increasing fertility. In 2013, the Office announced that the birth rate had increased by 18 per cent during the previous decade.
The decrease in registered deaths continues a trend that the Office has been documenting since 1963. Although decreases in infant mortality have made a notable contribution to the steadily decreasing death rate during the past 52 years, deaths among people more than 65 years old have decreased the most — by 69 per cent.
The decline in the mortality rate is welcome evidence of improved living standards and advancements in medical care, but also evidence of the importance of making the government policy and other changes necessary to cope with a rapidly ageing population.
The population of the United Kingdom is expected to increase in size by approximately 20 per cent during the next three decades — that change will have to be accomodated as well.