Proposed changes to ONS Birth Statistics

Closed 26 Sep 2017

Opened 19 Jul 2017

Feedback updated 4 Dec 2017

We asked

To enable ONS to publish more detailed birth statistics for England and Wales than currently available, whilst also improving timeliness, we proposed to make explorable datasets for live births available in NOMIS from the 2017 data year. Consequential changes were also proposed to our annual publication tables, and some new tables were outlined. We consulted users with these proposals to ensure birth statistics continue to meet user needs as much as possible. 

You said

There were a total of 15 responses received from a variety of organisations that monitor, formulate or influence policy and plan services both at the national and local level. We also received responses from academics, charities and a private company.
The key points to note from the responses to the consultation are:
  • Respondents welcomed detailed birth statistics being made available as explorable datasets in NOMIS; however some were concerned about locating particular birth statistics in the future. 
  • Four respondents were concerned over plans to combine i) births to married couples with births to cohabiting couples and ii) sole registered births with births jointly registered by parents who live at different addresses. They considered the distinction between these groups important for both demographers and policy makers interested in changing family forms and living arrangements. 
  • Three respondents requested that much more detailed data be made available as explorable datasets; for example live births by single year of age of mother and father with other characteristics available for cross tabulation, or the addition of parity and exact multiplicity.
  • One respondent noted that they would like to have parents’ occupation coded on 100% of live births, currently only 10% are coded.
  • Three respondents noted that they used tables which were proposed to be discontinued.

We did

As a result of this consultation, we will take the following actions:
  • Make available the five explorable datasets on NOMIS , outlined in Annex B of our Response to the ONS consultation on proposed changes to birth statistics. We intend to make 2017 data publicly available in NOMIS in July or August 2018.
  • Make changes to our published tables as outlined in Annex C of our Response to the ONS consultation on proposed changes to birth statistics. These changes are based on those originally proposed in our consultation but take account of the responses we received. 

Results updated 4 Dec 2017



We are planning to change the way in which birth statistics for England and Wales are published from 2017 data year onwards. The first births release containing 2017 data is planned for July or August 2018.

We plan to make explorable datasets for live births available in NOMIS. These will provide detailed birth statistics and some historic data for comparison. We currently use this approach for marriage, divorce and mortality statistics.

We intend to make four explorable datasets available for live births, with 2017 datasets being available from July or August 2018 - which will be earlier than similar data are currently available. The related document at the bottom of this page outlines the specification for these datasets and consequential changes proposed to our annual publication tables along with some new tables which we are proposing. We encourage feedback on these proposals and will take account of all feedback received before making any changes.

Please complete the feedback form below by Thursday 21 September.


  • Anyone from any background


  • Health
  • Population
  • Statistics
  • Data
  • Formal consultations