1 Between 2000 and 2010 births in England increased by over 114,000 – from 572,826 to 687,007. Immigration has been the key factor fuelling this increase: three quarters of the increase in births was to women born outside the UK. Overall, in 2010, over a quarter of all live births in England were to mothers born abroad. The proportion of such births has grown consistently every year in succession since 1990, doubling over the past decade – from approximately 92,000 in 2000 to almost 180,000 in 2010 – this is nearly 500 on average every day
2 Midwife numbers have not kept pace with the overall growth in numbers of births because governments before 2010 permitted high levels of net migration without making sure that maternity services received adequate staffing; consequently, there has been an acknowledged severe shortage of midwives for several years which has, in turn, led to concern about the quality of midwife services. Key indicators of pressures on maternity services and the resulting shortfall in midwives are shown in Table 1 of the complete Briefing Paper No 5.10 on Migration Watch UK's web site.