Around 7,000 babies born in England and Wales every year may lose their mothers before their 16th birthday, new research suggests.

An estimated 1% of those born between 1971 and 2000 experienced maternal bereavement during childhood, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The number of children who have lost a father by the time they turn 16 could be around twice as high, mortality trends indicate.

Children under 16 who have lost their mother(PA Graphics)

However the data in this area is less clear, the statisticians said.

The ONS used data from a longitudinal study spanning from 1971 to 2000 to estimate the prevalence of maternal bereavement.

Using this percentage, they suggest that currently around 7,000 children born every year in England and Wales are likely to experience the death of their mother before they turn 16.

Their workings were based on the estimated total number of under-16s in the two countries in 2017.

Thousands of babies born every year could lose their mum (Philip Toscano/ PA)Thousands of babies born every year will lose their mum before they turn 16 (Philip Toscano/ PA)

Iain Bell, deputy national statistician, said: “This data opens a window into another potentially vulnerable section of our population.

“The information today gives us an idea of the scale of who is affected but we want to be able to shine a light on the impact early bereavement can have; what the effect of losing a parent is likely to be on a child and the challenges they might face in later life.

“As an organisation, we are looking at how we can provide better statistics to help make better decisions to improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable in our society.”

The ONS is already examining in more depth how the loss of a parent affects educational achievement.