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3301.0 - Births, Australia, 2010 Quality Declaration 
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Contents >> Births of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples >> Trends in Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fertility rates

TRENDS IN AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER FERTILITY RATES

Total fertility rate

Total fertility rates (TFRs) for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and all women for the period 1965 to 2010 are presented in graph 3.3. Due to the poor quality of historical Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander birth registrations data, fertility rates for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women up to 1991 were derived using data collected in the Australian censuses (Gray, 1997). With improvements in coverage, birth registrations data have been used for 1996 onwards. Due to the uncertainty in numbers of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander births, as well as Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population estimates used as denominators in the calculation of fertility rates, data should be interpreted with caution. For more information on Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population estimates, see Experimental Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 1991 to 2021 (cat. no. 3238.0).

In the early 1960s, the TFR for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women was 5.8 babies per woman, compared with 3.2 babies for all women in Australia. Since then, fertility rates of both Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and all women have declined substantially, with the largest decreases recorded during the 1970s.

In 1996, the TFR for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women was 1.97 babies per woman, the lowest on record. Over the following decade, the TFR remained at around 2.1 to 2.2 babies per woman. In 2007, the TFR for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women increased to 2.40 babies per woman and has continued to increase reaching 2.57 babies per woman in 2010 (compared with 1.89 for all women in Australia).

3.3 Total fertility rates(a),
Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and all women - 1965 to 2010
Graph: 3.3 total fertility rates(a), Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and all women—1965 to 2010



Age-specific fertility rates

High fertility rates at younger ages contribute to the relatively high overall fertility rate for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women compared with all women. Births to women aged under 30 years contributed to three-quarters (75%) of the total fertility rate for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in 2010, compared with less than half of the total fertility rate for all women (45%).

3.4 Age-specific fertility rates(a),
Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and all women - 2010
Graph: 3.4 Age-specific fertility rates(a), Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and all women—2010


For Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, the peak age group for births in 2010 was 20-24 years (149 babies per 1,000 women), followed by women aged 25-29 years (132 babies per 1,000 women). The fertility rate for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women aged 20-24 years was close to three times the fertility rate for all women in this age group (52 babies per 1,000 women). In contrast, the peak age group for all women in 2010 was 30-34 years (123 babies per 1,000 women).


Teenage fertility rates

In 2010, births to teenage Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women (2,400 births) accounted for 20% of all births to Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women (11,800 births). In comparison, births to all teenage women accounted for only 4% of all births. Overall, the teenage fertility rate for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women (76 babies per 1,000 women) was almost five times the teenage fertility rate for all women (16 babies per 1,000 women).





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