Examine the Reasons for Changes in Birth Rates and Family Size Since 1900

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Examine the reasons for changes in birth rates and family size since 1900. 24 marks. The birth rate is the number of live births per 1000 of the population per year. There has been a decrease in the birth rate from 1900 to 2007 in England and Wales of an estimated 10.7, resulting in a decrease in family size. Many factors caused the change in birth rate and family size since 1900, including the changes in the position of women. There have been many major changes in the position of women during the twentieth century – including increased educational opportunities for girls, and more women being in paid employment, also laws outlawing unequal pay and sex discrimination. As a result of these changes, women now see other possibilities in life apart from the traditional role of housewife and mother. Many women are choosing to delay childbearing or not to have children at all so they can pursue a career. In 2006, one in five women aged 45 were childless – double that of twenty years previously. Since women are choosing to not have children – the birth rate and there fore family size has fallen since 1900. Another factor is the decline in the infant mortality rate – the number of infants who die before their first birthday per 1000 babies born alive per year. Many sociologists argue that a fall in IMR leads to a fall in birth rate because if many infants die, parents have more children to replace those they have lost and thus increasing the birth rate. This is proven since in 1900 the IMR in the UK was 154 and by 2007 it had sharply declined to 5, owing to many factors including improved housing and better sanitation. So infant mortality rates decreasing has caused birth rate to decrease and therefore also decreasing family size. A final reason is the idea that children have become an economic liability. This is due to two many reasons, the first being laws
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