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Mothers Day 2002: ABS facts for features, May 2002
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May 10, 2002
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
Mothers Day 2002: ABS facts for features

There are some 5.8 million mothers in Australia today, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) estimates. During the financial year 2000-2001, there were 248,700 births registered in Australia, according to preliminary estimates. This represents a decrease of 0.2% compared with 1999-2000.

The age of women having babies has steadily increased over time. Nearly half of all births registered in Australia in 2000 (49%) were to women aged 30 years and over, compared to 25% in 1980. Women aged 30 years and over comprised 54% of all new mothers in Victoria, and 51% each in the Australian Capital Territory and South Australia. The Northern Territory recorded the lowest proportion (38%) of mothers aged 30 years and over, followed by Tasmania (41%).

Births to teenage women accounted for less than 5% of births registered in 2000, compared to 8% in 1980. The Northern Territory recorded the highest proportion of teenage births (13%) followed by Tasmania (8%) and Queensland (6%), whilst the lowest proportion of teenage births (3%) was recorded in both Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory.

Australia's fertility rate (the expected number of babies per woman based on current rates) was 1.7 in 2000, as in 1999. Women in the Australian Capital Territory had the lowest fertility rate of 1.6, while women in the Northern Territory had the highest fertility rate of 2.2. Of the capital cities, Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra each recorded the lowest fertility rate of 1.6 babies per woman, based on 1998-2000 rates.

Three percent of women who became new mothers in 2000 identified themselves as Indigenous. The total fertility rate among Indigenous Australian women was estimated at 2.2 babies in 2000 and was the highest in the Northern Territory (2.8).

If current rates continue, it is estimated that 24% of Australian women would remain childless at the end of their reproductive lives. The rate of childlessness would be highest among women in the Australian Capital Territory (33%), followed by Victoria (31%) and South Australia (25%).

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