The UK population has experienced many changes. In the early 1900s the population was calculated to be 37 million, this rose significantly to 61 million by 2007 and is estimated to rise to 71 million by 2031. There are many factors which have contributed to the changes in the UK population over the years such as birth rates, death rates, immigration and emigration. Although there have been fluctuations in the UK's birth rates due to three baby booms, overall there has been a long term decline in the number of births. There are numerous suggestions as to why the birth rate is declining in the UK, including that the position of women in society has changed, the infant mortality rate has decreased, people are now living significantly longer and immigration patterns have changed.
Over the years the position of women in society has changed. Previously the position of women in society was simply to produce children and to take care of them and their husbands, however due to improved laws on gender equality a lot of women may choose to peruse their career goals before having children and some decide not to have children at all. Women also have more control of their fertility as they have cheap and easy access to reliable contraception and abortion, which means they have full control of when they want to have children resulting in many women having children at later ages and decreasing unwanted pregnancies. Not only are women delaying pregnancy but they're also having significantly less children compared to women in the late 19th century. This could be because in the 19th century children were seen as an economical asset as they would be forced to go out and work at a very young age, however, now children have become an economical liability. Due to child protection laws children can no longer be forced into labor at a young age meaning they no longer produce an income and they're financially dependent on parents, hence they've now become consumers.