3301.0 - Births, Australia, 2004  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/11/2005   
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November 16, 2005
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)

Australia records a slight fertility increase in 2004: ABS

Australia's total fertility rate increased to 1.77 babies per woman in 2004, slightly higher than in 2003 (1.75), according to the latest release by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The increase in fertility was largely due to an increase in the fertility of women aged 30 to 39 years. This rise outweighed the decrease in fertility recorded for women aged under 30 years. Age-specific fertility rates in this age range have returned to levels last observed at the end of the post-war baby boom in the mid 1960s.

In 2004, 254,200 births were registered in Australia. This was an increase of 3,100 births on the number registered in 2003, and the highest since 1995.

The number of multiple births in Australia is also increasing. In 2004, there were 4,200 multiple births registered - 75% more than in 1984 and 20% more than in 1994. An increase of 3% (120 multiple births) was recorded between 2003 and 2004.

The median age of mothers and fathers continued to rise in 2004. The median age of all women giving birth rose to 30.6 years, while the median age of fathers rose to 32.8 years.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fertility higher, but declining

The total fertility rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women declined to 2.11 babies per woman in 2004, from 2.15 in 2003. This remained above the total fertility rate of all Australian women (1.77).

High fertility at younger ages contributes to the relatively high fertility rate of Indigenous women, with almost three-quarters of the total fertility rate contributed by women under 30 years.

There were 12,000 births registered in 2004 where at least one parent was identified as Indigenous (5% of all births).

Further details are available in
Births, Australia, 2004 (cat. no. 3301.0).