HC Deb 06 April 1943 vol 388 cc504-5W
Mr. Molson

asked the Minister of Health whether he will calculate the net reproduction rate for England and Wales for the years 1939 to 1942, inclusive, and will he publish the figures?

Mr. E. Brown

The net reproduction rate representing the fertility experience of England and Wales in 1939 is 0.807. The detailed analyses of the births and deaths necessary for the computation of the rates for later years are not yet completed but it may be stated that calculations on the accepted conventional basis would be of little service since they involve the assumption that exceptional mortality due to war causes (e.g. air raids, black out, etc.) will continue to be experienced by female children and young women throughout the next 45 years or so. On the preferable assumption that the mortality likely to be experienced will be more akin to that referred to in the recent White Paper dealing with the current Trend of Population (Cmd. 6358), the net reproduction rate corresponding to the fertility of 1942 is estimated provisionally and approximately at 0.84. The children born in 1940 and 1941 have already been subject to considerable war mortality and its accrued effect on their chances of survival cannot be assessed until full analyses of the deaths are available. Over a short period of time, however, normal net reproduction rates might be expected to fall or rise in correspondence with the crude birth rate per 1,000 population; and from the crude birth rate 1939–1942 (namely 14.9, 14.6, 14.2, 15.8) the inference that the net reproduction rates of 1940 and 1941 were somewhat below the rate given above for 1939 will probably be a sufficient guide for practical purposes.