Fertility variations in Scotland: actual, expected and ideal fertility
Scotland is one of many developed countries whose fertility is below the level required to replace their populations. Its fertility rate (1.62 in 20051) is slightly above the average for the EU but below that of other countries and regions in the UK and just over half the post-war peak rate of 3.09 in 1964. However, there are marked variations in fertility rates across Scotland, with rates in some areas much higher or lower than the average (General Register Office for Scotland 2003, Graham and Boyle 2003). Low fertility is a controversial issue because of its possible implications for population ageing, labour supply and the costs of sustaining health and welfare services. This briefing reports some key findings of a recently completed research project that investigated the attitudes to fertility of men and women of child-bearing age in Scotland. It is based on a specially commissioned module on fertility in the 2005 Scottish Social Attitudes survey. It reviews some general findings about respondents’ attitudes to and experiences of childbearing, and how these vary according to a number of factors.
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