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Assess the causes and consequences of changes in the UK population

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Introduction

Assess the causes and consequences of changes in the UK population (24) A number of things have affected the population of the UK in the past, including the changing of the birth, death, and fertility rate, the increase of migration, and the higher life expectancy we enjoy. These changes have greatly influenced the way we live in the UK and the types of people living here, with higher diversity than in the past. Our population continues to grow but it has not always been for the same reasons. Up until the 1950's and 60's, natural changes such as there being more births than deaths was the main reason for the increase but then from the 1980's onwards net migration (numbers of immigration exceed numbers of emigration) has largely contributed to the rising numbers. This change has been shown in statistics such as in the 50's natural changes accounted for 98% of population change and net migration just 2% but between 2001 and 2004, net migration accounted for two thirds of the increase. There were 34% less births in 2004 than in 1901 and 21% fewer than in 1971, however the decline in the birth rate did not gradually decrease, it took twists and turns during the two world wars. During the First World War there was a decrease in the birth rate due to a high percentage of men fighting overseas, and then after the war had finished there was a baby boom when they all came out, with birth rates increasing rapidly. ...read more.

Middle

The earnings, savings and taxes of the working population must support the dependent population, which is made up largely of children so a fall in the amount of children reduced the 'burden of dependency'. However this decrease will mean there are fewer young adults in the future which could possibly balance it out again. With a lower birth rate, fewer schools and maternity and child health services may be needed, and also different housing would be developed. These decisions are political though so for example the number of schools may not be reduced but the class sizes may be instead. The decline in the fertility rate has encouraged the decline of the full-time mother and the growth of the dual-career family in which couples combine paid work with family life and childcare with over 60% of families with children now combine jobs and family life. There are two types of dual-earner families, one that when both partners have established a career they have a child, and another more common type is where the husband earns the major share and the wife works part-time, usually taking the major responsibility for the childcare and upkeep of the home. Another factor that affects our population is the death rate, the annual number of deaths per 1000. The number of deaths remained relatively steady since 1900 at around 600,000 per year, with it obviously rising during the 2 world wars, and peaking in 1918 with the war and the influenza epidemic bringing deaths to a level of 690,000. ...read more.

Conclusion

Immigration has led to great cultural diversity with only 39% of British-born African-Caribbean adults under the age of 60 being in a formal marriage, compared with 60% of White adults. Also the number of mixed-race partnerships means that very few African-Caribbean men and women are married to fellow African-Caribbean's and only one-quarter of African-Caribbean children live with two Black parents. These types of partnerships result in mixed-race children and some sociologists argue that these types of families have problems such as facing prejudice and discrimination from both White and Black communities. The introduction of different family types have brought a different perspective to family life in the UK, which different values and traditions being brought in by many different ethnic groups such as with African-Caribbean families tend to be single parent families more often than White families, with mothers choosing to live independently from their children's fathers because they possibly have weighed up the costs and benefits of living with the father's and have chosen the fact they are an unreliable source of income or because they are more likely to be supported by an extended kinship network, often with neighbours and friends classed as 'aunts' and 'uncles'. Asian families tend to stick to the old-fashioned nuclear family but within Sikhs and East African Asians they often live in extended families. Considering all of the changes and consequences above, it has been shown that the UK population is constantly changing and in recent times our population has become a lot more diverse, with many different ethnic groups being introduced into the country. The population is also ageing with life expectancy increasing and birth rates falling, creating a better balance of the dependency ratio. ...read more.

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