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This is the sixth in a series of reviews of statistics about the health of children, collated from routine data. There were approximately 12 million children aged under 16 years in the UK in 1995. This paper looks at the changing demography of the UK, comments on recent trends in infant and childhood mortality rates, and looks at the prevalence of some common chronic diseases of childhood. Social trends, such as breast feeding patterns, family type, and current education provision are described. The proportion of children with special educational needs and on child protection registers is also discussed.
The population of the UK in 1995 was approximately 58 million. This represents a population increase of two million since 1986.1 Over the same period, the annual live birth rate has fallen from 13.3 per 1000 (1986) to 12.5 per 1000 (1995), and the annual death rate has fallen from 11.6 per 1000 (1986) to 10.9 per 1000 (1995).1 In England and Wales, 7.3% of all live births weighed less than 2500 g at birth.2 Migration has reduced only marginally, from 250 000 (1986) to 245 000 in 1995.1 Figures on emigration are not collected. Table 1summarises the demographic changes seen in the last 10 years in the constituent countries of the UK; England has the highest birth rate and the lowest death rate within Great Britain. Table 2 shows the 1995 mid-year population estimates for the constituent countries of the UK.1 Currently, approximately 20% of the population of the UK are under 16 years of age with little variation across the constituent countries. Population projections into the next century predict that this will fall to 18% by 2011.1 Table 3gives an international perspective, comparing birth and death rates, and life expectancy for 14 countries. However, …
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