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3301.0 - Births, Australia, 2003  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/11/2004   
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November 25, 2004
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)

Australia's fertility rate remains steady

Australia's fertility rate has remained steady over the past six years, according to new figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

In 2003 the total fertility rate was 1.75 babies per woman, similar to rates of between 1.73 and 1.76 babies per woman recorded since 1998.

For the fourth consecutive year women aged 30–34 years experienced the highest fertility of all age groups, with 113 babies per 1,000 women.

Women aged 25–29 years experienced the second highest fertility in 2003 (103 babies per 1,000 women), while fertility of 20–24 year old women has continued to decline (55 babies per 1,000 down from 61 babies five years ago).

The median age of all women giving birth was the highest on record (30.5 years) in 2003, while the median age of fathers was 32.6 years. This reflects the continued rise in the median ages of both mothers and fathers.

There were 251,200 births registered in Australia during 2003, a slight increase (200 births) on the previous year and the highest since 1997.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women's fertility continues to reflect a different pattern

The total fertility rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women was higher (2.15 babies per woman) than that for all women in Australia (1.75 babies per woman) in 2003.

High fertility at younger ages contributes to the relatively high fertility of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. Women under 30 years of age accounted for almost three-quarters of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander total fertility rate, while women under 30 years of age accounted for only half of the fertility rate for all women in Australia in 2003.

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, peak fertility was in the 20–24 year age group (133 babies per 1,000 women).

The median age of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who registered a birth during 2003 was 24.6 years, compared to 30.5 years for all women.

Five per cent of all births registered had at least one parent identified as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent.

Further details are available in Births, Australia, 2003 (cat. no. 3301.0).

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