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Over 30s are most fertile, as birth rates increase

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The highest fertility rates in England and Wales are still attributed to women in their 30s, a study has revealed

The Office for National Statistics conducted the research by counting the number of live births in England and Wales per head according to age group.

The number of babies born increased from 690,013 in 2007 to 708,708 the following year. The total fertility rate is currently the highest since 1973, at 1.95 children per head.

For every 1,000 women aged 15 to 44, there were 63.5 live births, which indicated a rise marking a return to levels last reached in 1992.

Women in their early 30s still enjoyed the highest fertility rates - although it rose among all age groups - with 112.3 live births per 1,000 women aged 30 to 34. In 2004, the group overtook women in their 20s.

Since the mid-1970s, the average age of mothers has increased, but remained at 29.3 last year from 2007. Compared with 5.1 live births in 1988 for every 1,000 women over 40, fertility reached 12.6 last year.

English women in the West Midlands had the most children at 2.09 per head, while those in the North East had the lowest at 1.86. The North East and North West had the highest levels of mortality, while the South East and South West had the lowest.

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