3301.0 - Births, Australia, 2005  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/10/2006   
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This publication brings together statistics and indicators for births in Australia.


This publication contains birth registration data for live births, except where otherwise stated. Populations used in the calculation of rates for 2005 are the revised estimated resident population by age and sex at 30 June 2005. Unless otherwise stated, state or territory relates to the state or territory of usual residence.


In commentary based on the statistics in this publication, it is recommended that the relevant statistics be rounded. All data are affected by errors in reporting and processing. Birth registration data are also affected by delays in registration. No reliance should be placed on statistics with small values. Where necessary, tables have had small values suppressed or randomised to protect confidentiality.


For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Olivia Agius on Canberra (02) 6252 5862.



  • Australia's total fertility rate (TFR) in 2005 was 1.81 babies per woman, higher than in 2004 (1.77) and the highest since 1995 (1.82). The TFR in 2005 was 0.08 babies per woman higher than the lowest TFR recorded in 2001 (1.73).
  • The increase in the TFR was largely due to births to women aged 30 to 39 years. Women aged 30-34 years experienced the highest fertility of all age groups for the sixth consecutive year, increasing from 114.4 babies per 1,000 women in 2004 to 117.5 babies per 1,000 women in 2005. This was the highest rate recorded for women aged 30-34 years since 1964.
  • Fertility of women aged 35-39 years increased from 57.4 babies per 1,000 women in 2004 to 60.6 babies per 1,000 women in 2005, the highest rate since 1962. The fertility of women aged 35-39 years was above that of women aged 20-24 years for the second consecutive year.
  • Fertility of women aged 25-29 years increased slightly from 102.5 babies per 1,000 women in 2004 to 103.0 babies per 1,000 women in 2005. Women aged 25-29 years continued to record the second highest fertility of all age groups.
  • Fertility of women aged 40-44 years in 2005 was the highest since 1971.
  • At the national level, fertility of women aged 20-24 years and teenage fertility (women aged under 20 years) continued to decline, although in some states and territories teenage fertility has increased. See Chapter 2 - Summary of Findings, page 15 for more detail.

  • In 2005 there were 259,800 births registered in Australia, 5,500 (2.2%) more than in 2004, and the highest since 1993 (260,200). This also represented an increase of 13,400 births from the low number of births registered in 2001 (246,400 births).
  • This estimate of the number of births for 2005 is different to the number of births as a component of population growth for 2005 (265,000) reported by the ABS in the March quarter 2006 issue of Australian Demographic Statistics (cat.no.3101.0). See Chapter 2 - Summary of Findings, page 9 for more detail.

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

  • In 2005, 68% of births were to parents in a registered marriage, compared to 85% in 1985.
  • While births to parents outside of a registered marriage are increasing, the proportion of births where the father has not acknowledged the birth (by not signing the birth registration form) has decreased from 5% in 1985 to 3% in 2005.

  • All states and territories recorded increases in their TFRs between 2004 and 2005, with Tasmania reaching replacement level fertility (2.1 babies per woman) in 2005.
  • In 2005, women aged 30-34 years recorded the highest fertility of all age groups in all states and territories with the exception of Tasmania and the Northern Territory, where women aged 25-29 years recorded the highest level of fertility.
  • The number of births registered in 2005 was higher than in 2004 for all states and territories, with Queensland, Western Australia and Victoria recording the largest numeric increases and Tasmania recording the largest percentage increase. New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and Victoria recorded the lowest percentage increases in the number of births registered between 2004 and 2005.
  • 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 (5% of all births) where at least one parent was identified as Indigenous.
  • Indigenous women had a higher TFR in 2005 (2.06 babies per woman) than all women (1.81 babies per woman).
  • Higher fertility at younger ages contributes to the relatively high fertility of Indigenous women. In 2005, women under 30 years of age accounted for three-quarters of the Indigenous total fertility rate, compared to less than half of the fertility rate for all women in Australia.
  • In 2005, of the 450 births to teenage mothers (women aged under 20 years) in the Northern Territory, 79% (360 births) were births where at least one parent was identified as Indigenous.

  • Time series of births and fertility data for the states and territories, Statistical Divisions, Statistical Local Areas and Local Government Areas are now available in spreadsheet format from the 'Details' tab of this issue.