APPENDIX DIFFERENCES BETWEEN COLLECTIONS
BIRTH REGISTRATIONS COMPARED TO THE PERINATAL DATA COLLECTION
Birth registrations data in this publication are not the only births data available in Australia. The National Perinatal Epidemiology and Statistics Unit of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) also collects birth data from midwives and other health professionals who attend births. These data are published annually in Australia's Mothers and Babies ( Li Z, Zeki R, Hilder L & Sullivan EA 2012, Australia's mothers and babies 2010, Perinatal statistics series no. 27. Cat. no. PER 57. Canberra: AIHW).
As information from these two collections are from different sources, the statistics obtained may vary. For example, the Perinatal Data Collection reported the occurrence of 299,600 live births in Australia in 2010 (the latest available data), 1.3% less than the 303,300 births registered in the same year. Furthermore, births from the Perinatal Data Collection are released on a year of occurrence basis, while registered births from the ABS Birth Registrations collection are predominantly released on a year of registration basis. Prior to 1994, the Perinatal Data Collection showed fewer births than births registered. This position then reversed, with more births recorded in the Perinatal Data Collection than births registered, until 2010 when births registered became greater. The size of the difference between the two collections has varied between 0.4% and 5.0%.
While difficult to explain the differences, the greater number of births in the Perinatal Data Collection until 2010 may have been due to improvements in quality and coverage, particularly with the introduction of a perinatal National Minimum Dataset (NMDS) in 1997 which developed national standards for the collection of perinatal statistics. The trend may also reflect that parent(s) delay or fail to register the birth of a child.