1318.3 - Qld Stats, Nov 2008  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/11/2008   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All


Trends in Fertility
Further Information


This article brings together statistics for live births and fertility. Data refer to births where the usual residence of the mother was Queensland and the year the birth was registered, unless otherwise stated.

Caution should be exercised when interpreting changes in Queensland's births and fertility data between 2005, 2006 and 2007 due to changes in the timeliness of registration of births in Queensland in the past two years. The proportion of births registered in Queensland in 2007 that occurred in the year before (16%) is higher than in previous years, indicating that the total number of births registered in Queensland in 2007 is to some extent due to changes in procedures for processing birth registrations by the Queensland Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, as well as increases in the absolute number of registrations processed in 2007. In addition, amendments to the A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999 requiring the registration of, or application for registration of, the birth of a child as a condition for applying for the Baby Bonus will have affected the data.


The total fertility rate (TFR) is the sum of age-specific fertility rates (live births at each age of mother per female population of that age). It represents the number of babies a female would bear during her lifetime if she experienced current age-specific fertility rates at each age of her reproductive life. Between 1997 and 2006 Queensland's TFR was around 1.8 babies per woman and in 2007 was 2.09 babies per woman. This was the highest rate recorded for Queensland since 1977 (2.11 babies). Over the last decade Queensland has consistently recorded a higher TFR than Australia.

Graph: Total Fertility Rate

Age-specific fertility rates

Consistent with the overall increase in Queensland TFR, age-specific fertility rates for all age groups of mother increased between 2006 and 2007.

Over the past few decades there has been a tendency for Queensland women to have their babies at older ages. This transition to an older age-specific fertility pattern is illustrated by the shift in peak fertility of women aged 25-29 years in 2004 to 30-34 years in 2005. Since then, 30-34 years has remained the peak fertility age group, with 126.7 babies per 1,000 women in 2007 (up from 112.5 in 2006).

Women aged 25-29 years experienced the second highest fertility in 2007, with a rate of 121 babies per 1,000 women (up from 107.6 in 2006). Women aged 20-24 years and 35-39 years experienced fertility rates of 72.3 and 63.8 babies per 1,000 women respectively in 2007 (up from 61.2 and 55.3 respectively in 2006).

Graph: Age Specific Fertility Rates

Declines in fertility have occurred amongst younger women over the period 1997 to 2007. Women aged 15-19 years experienced a 11% decrease, and in 2007 had a fertility rate of 23 babies per 1,000 women. Fertility rates for the older age groups increased between 1997 and 2007. The fertility rate for women aged 40-44 years increased by 71% (from 6.5 babies per 1,000 women in 1997 to 11.1 babies per 1,000 women in 2007).

Total fertility rates in local government areas

In Queensland, local government areas with an estimated resident population of 20,000 or more recorded a wide range of total fertility rates. Mount Isa (C) recorded the highest rate of 2.49 babies per 1,000 women, followed by Warwick (S) with 2.33, Ipswich (C) 2.30 and Logan (C) 2.26. Brisbane (C) recorded the lowest rate of 1.65 babies per 1,000 women followed by the Gold Coast (C) with 1.71 and Townsville (C) 1.75. Total fertility rates were based on the average of births data for the period 2005 to 2007.

The majority of local government areas with an estimated resident population of 20,000 or more recorded a higher total fertility rate than that of Queensland (1.92).

Data is also available for statistical local areas and statistical divisions. Please refer to Births, Australia, 2007 (cat. no. 3301.0) data cubes for further small area data.


There were 61,249 babies born to 60,271 mothers who were usual residents of Queensland registered in 2007. This was 8,584 (16%) more births than the number registered during 2006 and the largest increase of all states and territories.

Sex ratio

Just over half (52%) of all births registered in 2007 were male babies, with the sex ratio at birth being 107 male babies for every 100 female babies. The Queensland sex ratio was higher than the national average (105.5 male babies for every 100 female babies).

Nuptial and exnuptial births

In 2007, 60% of births to Queensland mothers were nuptial births (births of children born of parents who are legally married at the time of the child's birth). Exnuptial births accounted for the remaining 40% of births, although many of these may have been to mothers in de facto relationships.

EXNUPTIAL BIRTHS, Proportion of all births, Queensland
Graph: Exnuptial Births as Proportion of all Births

Acknowledgement of paternity

With exnuptial births comes the possibility that the father may not acknowledge the birth (that is, the father has not signed the birth registration statement). While the number of exnuptial births has increased greatly (56%) since 1997, the proportion of these births in which paternity was not acknowledged has decreased. In 1997 around 16% of all exnuptial births were paternity not acknowledged, but by 2007 this proportion had decreased to 8.4%.

Age of parents at confinement

The median age of all Queensland mothers of births registered in 2007 was 29.9 years. Women who registered an exnuptial birth in 2007 had a median age of 26.2 years, over five years younger than women who registered a nuptial birth (31.4 years). The median age of women who registered an exnuptial birth where paternity was not acknowledged (24.4 years) was lower than the median age of women who registered an exnuptial birth where paternity was acknowledged (26.3 years).

Graph: Median Age of Mother

As age-specific fertility rates indicate, the median age of mothers is affected by current trends towards delayed childbearing, and repartnering and subsequent family formation following separation or divorce. Since 1997 the median age of all Queensland mothers has increased by 1.3 years.

The median age of all fathers has also followed an upward trend. Since 1997 the median age of all fathers has increased by 1 year to 32.2 years in 2007. The median age of married fathers was 33.5 years, while the median age of unmarried fathers who acknowledged paternity was 29 years.

Previous children of the current relationship

For births registered in Queensland only previous children of the current relationship are recorded. In 2007, half (50%) of the confinements registered in Queensland were to mothers with no previous children from the current relationship. Nearly one-third (32%) of confinements were to mothers with one previous child from the current relationship and 6.1% of confinements were to mothers with three or more children from the current relationship.

CONFINEMENTS, Previous children of current relationship, Queensland, 2007
Graph: Confinements, Previous children of current relationship

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander births

Birth registrations classify a birth as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin (Indigenous) where at least one parent identified themselves as being of Indigenous origin on the birth registration statement. Indigenous fertility refers to births to Indigenous mothers. Some Indigenous births are not identified as such when they are registered and there are known lags in the registration of Indigenous births. Data presented may therefore underestimate the level of Indigenous births and fertility in Queensland.

In 2007, the TFR of Queensland Indigenous women was 2.7 babies per woman. There were 4,486 births registered where at least one parent identified themselves as being of Indigenous origin on the birth registration certificate. This is 30% higher than the number registered in 2006 and accounted for 7.3% of all Queensland births in 2007.

Queensland accounted for nearly one-third (32%) of Australia's Indigenous births registered in 2007.


Further information on this topic can be accessed in Births, Australia, 2007 (cat. no. 3301.0).