CHARACTERISTICS OF PARENTS
Around one-third (32%) of Indigenous births registered in 2008 were births for which both parents identified themselves as being of Indigenous origin on the birth registration statement, while for 41% of Indigenous births only the mother identified herself as being of Indigenous origin (including births where paternity was not acknowledged and those where the father's Indigenous status was unknown). The remaining 27% of Indigenous births had an Indigenous father and a non-Indigenous mother (including births where the mother's Indigenous status was not stated).
Overall, Indigenous women have children at younger ages than all women. The median age of Indigenous women who registered a birth in 2008 was 24.7 years, six years lower than the median age of all mothers (30.7 years). Of the states and territories, Indigenous mothers living in the Northern Territory had the lowest median age (24.1 years), followed by Indigenous mothers in Western Australia (24.2 years).
Fathers of Indigenous births in 2008 were younger than all fathers (27.8 years compared with 33.1 years respectively). Western Australia recorded the lowest median age of fathers of Indigenous births (27.2 years), followed by Queensland (27.6) and the Northern Territory and South Australia (both 27.7 years).
In 2008, 84% of Indigenous births were exnuptial (that is, births to women who were not in a registered marriage at the time of birth) compared to 34% of all births. Exnuptial births where the father did not sign the birth registration statement (that is, paternity not acknowledged births) accounted for 12% of all Indigenous births, compared to 3% of all births.
At the state and territory level the highest proportions of exnuptial Indigenous births were recorded in the Northern Territory, where 94% of all Indigenous births were exnuptial, and in Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland (87%, 86% and 84% respectively). In the Northern Territory, 32% of all Indigenous births were exnuptial births where paternity was not acknowledged.