Births, Australia

Latest release

Statistics about births and fertility rates for Australia, states and territories, and sub-state regions

Reference period
2021

Key statistics

  • There were 309,996 registered births in 2021, an increase of 15,627 (5.3%) from 2020.
  • For all Australian women, the total fertility rate was 1.70 births per woman.
  • For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, the total fertility rate was 2.34 births per woman.
Summary statistics
 201120202021(a)
Male births154,996150,943158,917
Female births146,621143,426151,079
Total births301,617294,369309,996
Total Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander births17,62122,01623,510
Sex ratio105.7105.2105.2
Total fertility rate1.921.591.70
Total fertility rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women(b)(c)2.312.252.34
Crude birth rate13.511.512.1
Net reproduction rate0.9230.7690.819
  1. All jurisdictions recorded an increase in birth registrations in 2021. This follows lower birth counts in 2020.
  2. Care should be taken when interpreting data, due to changes over time in the completeness and coverage of responses by the parent(s) to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander question on the birth registration form.
  3. Fertility rates for 2020 and 2021 are calculated using 2016 Census-based population projections.

Total fertility rate is the number of births per woman.

Crude birth rate is the number of births per 1,000 estimated resident population.

Net reproduction rate is the average number of daughters surviving to reproductive age per woman.

Sex ratio is the number of male births per 100 female births.

National

Births registered

There were 309,996 births in 2021, an increase of 5.3% (or 15,627 births) from 2020:

  • 51.3% were males, resulting in a sex ratio at birth of 105.2 male births per 100 female births
  • 61.7% were to parents in a registered marriage.
  1. Data for 2021 show an increase of 15,627 births registrations. This follows lower birth registrations in 2020.

Median age of parents

For births registered in 2021, the median age of: 

  • mothers was 31.7 years
  • fathers was 33.7 years.
  1. Not available for 1974 and earlier years.

Multiple births

Some pregnancies result in the birth of two or more children, at least one of which is live-born.

  • 4,248 (1.4%) pregnancies resulted in multiple births, remaining relatively consistent over the past decade.
  • Of these, 4,185 were twins and 63 were triplets or higher order births.

Total fertility rate

The total fertility rate required for replacement is currently considered to be around 2.1 babies per woman to replace herself and her partner.

Australia's total fertility rate: 

  • was 1.70 babies per woman in 2021, higher than 2020 (1.59) but remaining lower than 2011 (1.92)
  • has been below replacement since 1976.
  1. Data for 2021 show an increase of 15,627 births registrations. This follows lower birth registrations in 2020.

Age-specific fertility rate

In recent decades, the average age of mothers has been increasing.

  • All age groups except 15-19 years showed an increase in fertility rate from 2020.
  • Women aged 30-34 years had the highest fertility rate at 120.6 babies per 1,000 women, higher than 108.6  babies in 2001.
  • Women aged 15-19 years had the lowest fertility rate at 7.1 babies per 1,000 women, declining from 17.9 babies in 2001.

States and territories

Births registered

All states and territories had an increase in registered births from the previous year. The largest contributors to the increase in registered births were:

  • Queensland (4,745 births or 8.0%) 
  • South Australia (1,209 births or 6.5%)
  • New South Wales (5,721 births or 6.1%).
Births registered by state or territory of registration
 20202021Change from 2020-21(no.)Change from 2020-21(%)
New South Wales93,57999,3005,7216.1
Victoria74,61776,4141,7972.4
Queensland59,51664,2614,7458.0
South Australia18,57419,7831,2096.5
Western Australia32,42034,0651,6455.1
Tasmania5,7746,0272534.4
Northern Territory3,7163,736200.5
Australian Capital Territory6,1736,4102373.8
Australia294,369309,99615,6275.3

 

Median age of parents

The oldest median ages for mothers and fathers were in:

  • the Australian Capital Territory (32.6 years for mothers and 34.4 years for fathers)
  • Victoria (32.4 years for mothers and 34.2 years for fathers).

The youngest median age for mothers was in:

  • the Northern Territory (30.4 years)
  • Tasmania (30.6 years).

The youngest median age for fathers was in:

  • Tasmania (32.4 years)
  • Queensland (32.8 years).

Multiple births

  • Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory had higher proportions of multiple births than any other state or territory (each 1.5%).
  • The Northern Territory and Western Australia had the lowest proportions of multiple births (each 1.3%).
Multiple births by state or territory of usual residence(a)
 SingleTwinTriplet and higher orderTotal multiple birthsTotal confinements(b)
New South Wales98,6241,331271,35899,982
Victoria73,3181,026101,03674,354
Queensland62,2809021992163,201
South Australia19,214270427219,486
Western Australia33,148442544733,595
Tasmania5,875820825,957
Northern Territory3,688500503,738
Australian Capital Territory5,384820825,466
Australia(c)301,5644,185634,248305,812
  1. Where necessary, small values have been suppressed or randomised to protect confidentiality. As a result, sums of components may not add exactly to totals.
  2. The labour period which results in at least one live birth.
  3. Includes Other Territories.

Total fertility rate by state or territory of usual residence

  • The Northern Territory recorded the highest total fertility rate (1.82 babies per woman), followed by Queensland (1.79 babies per woman).
  • The Australian Capital Territory had the lowest total fertility rate (1.45 babies per woman).
  1. All jurisdictions recorded an increase in birth registrations in 2021. This follows lower birth counts in 2020.
  2. Includes Other Territories.

Net reproduction rate

All states and territories had an increase in net reproduction rate from 2020.

  • Queensland and the Northern Territory had the highest net reproduction rate (0.87).
  • The Australian Capital Territory had the lowest net reproduction rate (0.69).
  1. Includes Other Territories.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Births registered

There were 23,510 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander births registered, an increase of 1,494 babies from 2020. This represents 7.6% of all births registered in 2021. 

  • New South Wales and Queensland recorded the highest number of births (7,840 and 7,393).
  • The Australian Capital Territory recorded the lowest number of births (325).
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander births, year of registration
State or territory of registration20142015201620172018201920202021
New South Wales(a)4,9315,9115,5775,9057,3397,1287,4827,840
Victoria1,4621,3701,6401,8371,8641,8661,8471,862
Queensland(b)5,3945,2485,4566,6156,4056,8826,4457,393
South Australia9259499521,0161,0681,0601,0251,143
Western Australia2,7952,9852,7502,7732,7042,6812,8132,895
Tasmania545515585612578619680687
Northern Territory(c)1,4861,3651,3731,4021,7111,3831,4321,365
Australian Capital Territory241194227240259306292325
Australia17,77918,53718,56020,40021,92821,92522,01623,510
  1. Some of the increases in 2018 and 2019 were due to a catch-up in registration processing lags. 
  2. Some of the increases from 2017 were due to catch-up in registration processing lags while some of the increases from 2018 to 2021 are due to active engagement programs by the Queensland registry to improve under registration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander births.
  3. Some of the increases in 2018 were due to a catch-up in processing lags. 

Median age of parents

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women give birth at young ages.

  • Almost three-quarters (70.1%) were registered to women under 30 years of age.
  • This compared with 36.8% of births of all Australian women of the same age.

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander births registered in 2021, the median age of: 

  • mothers was 26.5 years, around six years younger than the median age of all mothers (31.7 years)
  • fathers was 29 years, around five years younger than the median age of all fathers (33.7 years).

Total fertility rate

The total fertility rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women was:

  • 2.34 babies per woman
  • higher than for all Australian women (1.70).

Age-specific fertility rate

The fertility rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women:

  • aged 15-19 years was almost six times the teenage fertility rate for all women (40.4 compared with 7.1 births per 1,000 women)
  • aged 20-24 years was over three times the fertility rate for all women of the same age (122.5 compared with 38.8 births per 1,000 women).

Conversely, the fertility rate for all women aged 35-39 years was over 1.3 times the fertility rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women of the same age (70.9 compared with 53.8 births per 1,000 women).

Data downloads

Births data cubes and Data Explorer datasets are by state or territory of usual residence. 

All births datasets in this release are reported by year of registration except ‘Births, by year and month of occurrence, by state of usual residence’ which is reporting the month and year in which the birth occurred. Lag in registration of births can cause data reported by occurrence to be incomplete. This is particularly noticeable in December as births in this month are more likely to be registered in the following year. Data is updated annually.

Data files

Data Explorer datasets

Caution: Data in the Data Explorer is currently released after the 11:30am release on the ABS website. Please check the time period when using Data Explorer.

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 3301.0.

Back to top of the page