3301.0 - Births, Australia, 2001  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 10/05/2001   
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May 10, 2001
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
Mothers Day 2001: ABS facts for features

There are some 5.3 million mothers in Australia today, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) estimates.

During 1999, 245,100 Australian women became new mums to 248,900 babies, with 51% having a boy. For nearly half of these women (48%), this was the first child of their current relationship while for almost one-third (31%) this was the second child of their relationship. Only 3% of women registered the birth of their baby without the father acknowledging the birth.

Over 3,700 women who registered a birth in 1999 had a multiple birth, 3,600 had twins and 110 had triplets or higher order.
The age of women having a baby has steadily increased over time. The median age of mothers (where half of mothers were below and half above that age) has increased from 26.5 years in 1979 to 29.7 in 1999, the highest since the beginning of the twentieth century. ABS projections assume the median age of mothers will reach 31.2 years by 2008.

Three percent of the women who became new mums during 1999 identified themselves as Indigenous. The majority of Indigenous women who registered a birth during 1999 lived in the States with the highest Indigenous populations; 28% lived in Queensland, 27% in New South Wales, 17% in the Northern Territory and 16% in Western Australia.

The majority of women who registered a birth during 1999 lived on the East coast of Australia with 35% living in New South Wales, 24% in Victoria and 19% in Queensland. The fertility of women (the expected number of births per women based on current rates) varied substantially across the States and Territories, New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory all experienced fertility rates higher than the national level (1.7) while Victoria, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory were all below the national level.

Women living in the capital cities have lower fertility than those living in the State/Territory balances. On 1997-99 rates, Melbourne had the lowest fertility rate of all the capital cities followed by Adelaide, Canberra, Perth and Brisbane. Women living in remote areas of Australia can expect to have between 2.1 and 2.4 babies per woman, compared to those who lived in areas of high accessibility (1.7).