Public Health Liverpool

Start well

What happens in pregnancy and early childhood impacts on physical and emotional health all the way through to adulthood. Every child in Liverpool should be given the best start in life, with the crucial period starting from pregnancy to the age of two.

According to the latest population estimates there are 114,300 children and young people in Liverpool (aged 0-19 years) with 26,400 aged under 5 years. Children and young people account for 23% of the population of Liverpool with a fairly equal distribution of males and females (50.5% males and 49.5% females).

Key facts

  • In 2022, there were 5,105 live births in Liverpool (ONS, 2024). This means there were 837 fewer births to Liverpool mothers than a decade ago.
  • In Liverpool there are around 27 infant deaths (under 1 year) every year. There were 5.2 infant deaths per thousand live births in 2020 - 22, which was significantly worse than the England rate (3.9 per 1,000).
  • Some 2.4% of live births at term in 2021 had a low birthweight (defined as weighing under 2,500g), which was in line with 2.8% reported nationally.
  • The smoking rate for pregnant women at the time of birth is significantly decreasing. 8.8% of mothers in 2022/23 were known to be smokers at the time of delivery of their baby, the same as nationally.
  •  In Liverpool around 61.2% of babies have breast milk as their first feed while 44.6% are still breastfeeding at 6-8 weeks (England reports figures of 71.7% and 49.2% respectively).
  • Uptake of routine children’s vaccinations in Liverpool is decreasing with coverage in 2022/23 significantly below national benchmarks. Some 84.4% of two-year-olds in the city were vaccinated for Dtap/IPV/Hib in 2022/23 while some 73.6% of 5-year-olds had received 2 doses of the MMR vaccination. England reports figures of 92.6% and 84.5% respectively.
  • Almost one in two (43.5%) children have dental decay by the age of five, the 2nd highest in the country in 2021/22.
  • Around 61.5% of Liverpool children are ready for school at the end of their school reception year in 2022/23, significantly below the national level (67.2%) and the 7th lowest in England.
  • 26% of our children aged 4-5 years are either overweight or obese, which is significantly above the national level of 21.3%.

Liverpool information

Liverpool City Region

Cheshire and Merseyside

Joint Maternity Services Needs Assessment Cheshire and Merseyside 2022

Office for Health Improvement and Disparities profiles