I Am the Sociology Man

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Examine the main trends in births and deaths in the United Kingdom since 1900

The birthrate in the UK has been in a long-term state of decline since 1900. In 1900 the birthrate in England and wales was 28.7, but by 2007 it had fallen to an estimated 10.7. However there have been three fluctuations in the birthrate of the UK, these are know as the three ‘baby booms’ in the 20th century. The First two came after the two world wars (1914-18 and 1939-45), as returning service men and their partners started families that they postponed during the war. There was a third baby boom in the 1960s before sharply declining again in the 1970s. The rate then rose in the 1980s and fell in the 1990s, it has recently increased since 2001.

There were major changes in the position of women in the 20th century. In the 20th century women gained legal equality with men including the right to vote. Women now also have increased educational opportunities and girls now do better at school than boys. There are now more women in paid employment, plus laws outlawing unequal pay and sex discrimination. As well as changes in attitudes to family life and women’s role and an easier access to divorce. As a result of these changes, women now see other opportunities in life apart from the traditional role of the house wife mother. Many are choosing to delay childbearing, or not have children at all in pursuit of a career. For example in 2006 on in five women were childless at age 45, double the number of twenty years earlier.

IMR measures the number of infants who die before their first birthday, per thousand babies born alive, per year. It is argued that a fall in IMR leads to a fall in birthrate. This is because, if many infants die, parents have more children to replace those they have lost, thereby increasing the birthrate. By contrast if infants survive, parents will have fewer of…...

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