Latest births figures show multi-cultural outlook for Wigan

Just over 10 per cent of births in Wigan last year were from mothers born abroad
Just over 10 per cent of births in Wigan last year were from mothers born abroad

One in 10 babies born last year in Wigan have mothers born outside the UK, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

Figures show that last year, 377 of the 3,641 births in the area were born to non-UK-born mothers, a rate of 10.4 per cent. This is considerably lower than the England and Wales average of 28.4 per cent.

Of the estimated 377 mothers born outside the UK who gave birth last year in Wigan, the most common place of origin was the EU - making up 48.5 per cent of the group.

Some 5.8 per cent of the non-UK born mothers were originally born in European countries outside the EU, 23.1 per cent in the Middle East and Asia, and 17.2 per cent in Africa.

The ONS report said that the figures for non-UK born mothers includes those who moved to the UK as children and have lived there most of their lives, as well as those who have recently migrated.

It also said that the figures for UK-born mothers include the children of second or third generation immigrants.

Analysis of the Annual Population Survey by the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford found that there is a higher proportion of migrants among people of childbearing age.

In 2017, 28 per cent of 30 to 39-year-olds were not born in the UK - compared with 14 per cent of the population overall.

Migration Observatory director Madeleine Sumpton said that this partly explains why the national numbers are high.

She said: “People migrate at all ages, but in general it’s harder for families to migrate.

“People in their 20s and early 30s generally have fewer attachments, and it’s more worthwhile for them to move.”

The Migration Observatory also reported that 62 per cent of foreign-born residents have been in the country for more than 10 years, and that a third arrived in the UK when they were under 18.

Ms Sumpton said: “Migrants who arrived in the country as children are relatively settled, and in many cases they will be socioeconomically indistinguishable from the UK-born.”

The highest percentage of births to non-UK born mothers in England and Wales was in Brent, where 75.7 per cent of mothers were born outside the UK. The lowest percentage was in Redcar and Cleveland and South Staffordshire, where 3.7 per cent of mothers were born outside the UK.

ONS senior statistician Liz McLaren said: “There are large variations in the percentage of births to women born outside the UK across England and Wales.

“This is due to local area differences in the percentage of women born outside the UK and due to differences in fertility levels of migrants born in different countries.”

In the five years from 2012 to 2017, the total number of births in Wigan fell slightly - from 3,731 births in 2012 to 3,641 last year.

During the same period, the number of births born to non-UK-born mothers shot up - from 259 births in 2012 to 377 last year