Special Article - Fertility in New South Wales (1999)
This article was published in Demography, New South Wales 1999, (ABS Catalogue No. 3311.1)
This article focuses on the level of the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) over time in NSW and its areas. The Total Fertility Rate is a measure of the number of children a woman would have during her lifetime, if at each age she experienced the current age-specific fertility rates. The article begins with a comparison of the 1999 NSW TFR with that of other States and Territories, as well as a selection of countries. The decline of the TFR in Australia and NSW, due to the decline in age-specific fertility rates, is discussed.
The article looks at the TFRs at lower level statistical areas, beginning with a comparison of the TFRs over time at Statistical Division level. The remainder of the article looks at the TFRs at Statistical Local Area (SLA) level. The analysis uses a time series of TFRs (1992 to 1999) with the median TFR from that period being used as the basis for comparison between SLAs. The median value is used because TFRs can fluctuate over time, especially in areas with small populations, and the median value is less susceptible to bias from extreme TFRs. The median TFR is compared against the replacement level TFR of 2.06, which is the number of children a woman would need to have during her lifetime to replace herself and her partner.
The geographic distribution of the median TFRs of NSW SLAs is mapped. Furthermore, a series of boxplots present the median TFR value (in comparison to replacement level fertility) and an indication of the spread of the timeseries of TFRs, allowing comparison between SLAs. Finally, an indicator of the trend of the TFR over the period is given. Where a significant upward or downward trend in the fertility level was detected, this is indicated in the analysis and alongside the box plots.
It was found that SLAs in Sydney had lower fertility levels than the rest of NSW, with around three quarters of Sydney SLAs having a median TFR below replacement level, while around three-quarters of SLAs in the Balance of NSW had a median TFR above replacement level. A significant trend of fertility was found in 17% of NSW SLAs, and in 90% of these SLAs it was a significant downward fertility trend.