• based on the number of births occurring in a given year

  • information collected at birth registration is recorded on the Registration Online (RON) system by registrars

  • for live births, details of the birthweight are passed to us from NHS birth notification records

  • published figures do not include births to women usually resident in England or Wales who give birth abroad

Birth statistics present data on births that occur and are then registered in England and Wales.

Our birth statistics are based on registrations provided by the General Register Office (GRO). These data represent the legal record, making it the best and most complete data source. These data are then supplemented by linking the birth registration to the NHS birth notification to obtain birth weight data.

Since 2012 information on the number of previous children and previous marriages or civil partnerships is collected from all mothers at birth registration, previously this information was only collected from married women.

When we receive birth registrations, a number of checks are carried out on records to ensure that they are valid. Checks are more frequent on those records with extreme values for main variables (such as age of mother or father), as these have a greater impact on published tables.

Annual data for England and Wales are released in a series of theme-specific packages, usually between July and December. These packages contain historical data, where available, providing the longest time series possible. Birth statistics for the UK and its constituent countries can be found in the vital statistics: population and health reference tables.

Local authorities and other government departments are important users of birth statistics and use the data for planning and resource allocation. Other users include academics, demographers and health researchers, lobby groups, charities, Eurostat and the United Nation.

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