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3301.0 - Births, Australia, 2008 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 11/11/2009   
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This publication brings together statistics for live births and fertility in Australia. Data refer to births registered during the calendar year shown, unless otherwise stated.

Populations used in the calculation of fertility rates for 2006 and earlier years are the final estimated resident population by age and sex based on results of the 2006 Census of Population and Housing (2006 Census) and earlier censuses. Fertility rates for 2007 use revised 30 June 2007 estimated resident population while rates for 2008 use preliminary 30 June 2008 estimated resident population.

State or territory relates to the state or territory of usual residence, unless otherwise stated.


Fertility rates for 2007 have been revised using revised 30 June 2007 estimated resident population.


Calculations as shown in the commentary sections of this publication are based on unrounded figures. Calculations using rounded figures may differ from those published.

It is recommended that when using information presented in this publication, the relevant statistics be rounded. All data are affected by errors in reporting and processing. Birth registration data are also affected by delays in registration.


Where necessary, tables have had small values suppressed or randomised to protect confidentiality. As a result, sums of components may not add exactly to totals.


For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Abdul Hakim on Canberra (02) 6252 6522.



  • Australia's total fertility rate (TFR) in 2008 was 1.97 babies per woman, up from 1.92 babies per woman in 2007 and the highest since 1977 (2.01).
  • The increase in the TFR between 2007 and 2008 was largely due to births to women aged 30 to 39 years, who accounted for 55% of the increase.
  • Fertility rates increased for all age groups of women between 2007 and 2008, except for women aged 45-49 years for whom the fertility rate remained the same.
  • Women aged 30-34 years experienced the highest fertility rate of all age groups in 2008, with 127.8 babies per 1,000 women. This was the highest rate recorded for women aged 30-34 years since 1961.
  • Women aged 25-29 years continued to record the second highest fertility rate of all age groups, with 105.8 babies per 1,000 women in 2008.
  • The fertility rate for women aged 35-39 years continued to increase, reaching 70.9 babies per 1,000 women in 2008. This was the highest rate for women aged 35-39 years since 1948.
  • The fertility rate for women aged 20-24 years increased to 57.1 babies per 1,000 women in 2008. This was the second time that the fertility rate for women aged 20-24 years has increased since 1990, the first being in 2007.
  • At the national level, the teenage fertility rate in 2008 was 17.3 babies per 1,000 women aged 15-19 years, slightly higher than in 2007 (16.0 babies per 1,000 women).

  • In 2008 there were 296,600 births registered in Australia, 11,400 (4.0%) more than in 2007. This was the highest number of births ever registered in a calendar year in Australia.

  • The median age of all mothers of births registered in 2008 was 30.7 years, while the median age of all fathers was 33.1 years.

  • In 2008, 66% of births were to parents in a registered marriage, compared to 81% in 1988.
  • The proportion of births to parents outside registered marriages has increased steadily since 1975. In 2008, 34% of all births registered were to parents who were not in a registered marriage, compared to 19% in 1988.
  • The proportion of births where the father has not acknowledged the birth (by not signing the birth registration form) has decreased from 5% in 1988 to 3% in 2008.

  • Total fertility rates for all states and territories increased in 2008, except for Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory where TFRs were similar to 2007, and the Northern Territory where the TFR was slightly lower.
  • Tasmania recorded the highest TFR in 2008 (2.24 babies per woman), slightly higher than that of the Northern Territory (2.22 babies per woman).
  • Tasmania's TFR in 2008 was the highest for this state since 1974.
  • Western Australia (2.12) and Queensland (2.10) recorded the third and fourth highest TFRs of the states and territories.
  • Western Australia's TFR was the highest for this state since 1976, while Queensland's was the highest since 1977.
  • Women aged 30-34 years recorded the highest fertility rates of all age groups in all states and territories in 2008, with the exception of Tasmania and the Northern Territory, where women aged 25-29 years recorded the highest fertility rates.
  • The number of births in 2008 was higher than in 2007 for all states and territories, with Western Australia and New South Wales recording the largest proportional increases (9.2% and 5.8% respectively).

  • There were 15,000 births registered in Australia during 2008 (5% of all births) where at least one parent identified themselves as being of Indigenous origin on the birth registration statement.
  • In 2008 the TFR for Indigenous women increased to 2.52 babies per woman, from 2.40 babies per woman in 2007.
  • High fertility rates at younger ages contribute to the relatively high overall fertility rate of Indigenous women. In 2008, women under 30 years of age accounted for 70% of the total fertility rate for Indigenous women, compared to 46% of the total fertility rate for all women in Australia.

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