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3301.0 - Births, Australia, 2005  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/10/2006   
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MEDIA RELEASE

October 17, 2006
Embargoed: 11:30am (AEST)
96/2006

ABS: Australian fertility rate highest in 10 years

The national fertility rate is at its highest level since 1995, according to the latest detailed births statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

Australia's total fertility rate increased in 2005 to 1.81 babies per woman, up from 1.77 in 2004.

All states and territories recorded increases in total fertility rates between 2004 and 2005, with Tasmania reaching replacement level fertility (2.1 babies per woman) in 2005.

The number of babies registered was at its highest since 1993. The number of babies registered in 2005 (259,800) was 5,500 more than the number registered in 2004.

Women aged 30-34 years continued to have the highest fertility rate of all women (117.5 babies per 1,000 women in 2005), the highest for this age group since 1964. This reflects the continuing trend of delaying motherhood.

Fertility rates of young women aged 20-24 years and teenagers continued to decline, although in some states and territories, teenage fertility has increased.

The median age of mothers giving birth in 2005 was 30.7 years, 3.4 years older than mothers in 1985 (27.3 years). The median age of fathers was 32.9 years, 2.8 years older than fathers in 1985 (30.1 years).

While the median age of mothers has been increasing in each state and territory in recent years, in 2005 the median age of mothers declined in South Australia, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, compared to 2004.

There were 12,100 births registered in Australia during 2005 where at least one parent was identified as Indigenous. The total fertility rate of Indigenous women was 2.06 in 2005, higher than that of all women (1.81).

Media note:
The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) represents the average number of babies that a woman could expect to bear during her reproductive lifetime if current fertility rates continued.

More details available in Births, Australia 2005 (cat. no. 3301.0). Regional State/territory information is also available.

States and territories - 2005 births and Total Fertility Rate (TFR)

New South Wales (86,600 births, 1.81 babies per woman TFR)
  • Women aged 35-39 years had the largest percentage increase in fertility over the year, up 7% (to 63.1 babies per 1,000 women in 2005).
  • The fertility rates of young women aged 20-24 years and teenagers fell in 2005 (to 51.7 and 13.5 babies per 1,000 women respectively), and were below the national averages.

Victoria (63,300 births, 1.72 babies per woman TFR)
  • Victoria recorded the oldest mothers in Australia in 2005 with a median age of 31.5 years.
  • Women aged 35-39 and 40-44 years had the largest percentage increases in fertility over the year, up 6% each.

Queensland (51,700 births, 1.85 babies per woman TFR)
  • Women aged 30-34 years had the highest fertility rate (110.9 babies per 1,000 women), overtaking the fertility of women aged 25-29 years for the first time.
  • The median age of mothers was 29.9 years in 2005, younger than the national median (30.7 years).

South Australia (17,800 births, 1.79 babies per woman TFR)
  • The median age of mothers fell to 30.1 years in 2005.
  • The fertility rate of teenage women increased 38%, the largest increase of all states and territories.

Western Australia (26,500 births, 1.86 babies per woman TFR)
  • The median age of mothers increased slightly over the year to 30.4 years in 2005.
  • The largest percentage increase in fertility rates was for women aged 40-44 years, up 14% in the year to 2005.

Tasmania (6,310 births, 2.10 babies per woman TFR)
  • Tasmania was the only state or territory to record increases in the fertility of women at all ages over the year.
  • Tasmanian women aged 25-29 years had the highest fertility rate nationally, at 128.8 babies per 1,000 women.

Northern Territory (3,660 births, 2.29 babies per woman TFR)
  • The Northern Territory had the youngest mothers in Australia in 2005 with a median age of 27.9 years, down from 28.3 years in 2004.
  • Of the 450 births to teenage mothers in 2005, four out of five babies had at least one Indigenous parent.
  • The Northern Territory was the only state/territory to record a decrease in the fertility of women aged 30-34 years between 2004 and 2005.

Australian Capital Territory (4,210 births, 1.65 babies per woman TFR)
  • The ACT's Total Fertility Rate was the lowest of any state or territory in 2005.
  • Women aged 30-34 years had the highest fertility rate of all 30-34 year old women in Australia (122.6 babies per 1,000 women) in 2005.

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