AROUND one in six babies delivered last year in Hampshire had mothers born outside the UK, figures reveal.

Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that non-UK-born women living in the area gave birth to 2,243 children in 2018 – 16.7% of all deliveries.

This is well below the average across England and Wales of 28.2%.

It was also in line with 2017, but an increase on 14.0% a decade previously.

But across England and Wales, the rate of births to foreign-born mothers dropped from 28.4% to 28.2% last year – the first fall since 1990.

Dr Marina Fernandez-Reino, a researcher at Oxford University’s Migration Observatory, said the distribution of the UK’s migrant population is very uneven.

In Brent in London, just over three-quarters of newborns had mothers born overseas, while in Copeland in the North West, the figure stood at just 3.0%.

Ms Fernandez-Reino said: “Foreign-born women in the UK are more likely to be of childbearing age than women born in the UK.

“The total fertility rates of UK-born and foreign-born women are 1.63 and 1.99 respectively, both below the replacement rate – which is the average number of children that needs to be born per woman to maintain a stable population without migration.

“In general, the fertility rate of foreign-born women tends to converge with that of UK-born women as their time spent in the UK increases.”

The most common region of origin for non-UK-born mothers giving birth in Hampshire was the EU, accounting for 997 births with mothers born there.

This was followed by 633 from the Middle East and Asia, 295 from Africa, 117 from European nations outside the EU, and 201 from elsewhere.

Overall, 13,400 Hampshire women gave birth last year, a decrease from 2017.

Kathryn Littleboy, from the ONS, said: “Today’s figures show the first decrease in the proportion of live births in England and Wales to non-UK-born mothers since 1990, and the first decrease for non-UK-born fathers since our time series for them began in 2008.

"Poland and Pakistan remain the most common countries of birth for non-UK-born mothers and fathers respectively.

“Romania is now the second most common country of birth for non-UK-born fathers, and the third for non-UK-born mothers.”

Across England and Wales, there were around 657,000 births last year, although this includes a small number of mothers whose usual residence was elsewhere.

This was down from 679,000 the year before.