1. The Number of Children Ever Born variable, collected in the Census, measures the number of live children ever born to each woman in Australia. Consistent with United Nations definitions, ABS measures the reproductive history of Australian women based on live births. Data on Number of Children Ever Born are essential for analysis such as the effectiveness of the population to replace itself through reproduction, investigation of birth rate differentials between various socio-economic groups, and in compiling assumptions of future birth rates for population projections. Information on the biological potential to conceive or reproduce is not collected by the Census, however, is collected by a number of other sources which have a greater focus on the epidemiological and reproductive health aspects of childbirth.
2. A question on the number of children or babies born to females has been asked in all Australian censuses since Federation, except in 1933 when number of dependent children was asked. However, since 1986 the question has been considered to be required only every 10 years. As a result the question was omitted from the 1991 Census, collected in the 1996 Census and omitted from the 2001 Census. It was collected in the 2011 Census and may be collected in 2016 depending on the Australian Community's needs.
3. Number of Children Ever Born was also collected in the ABS 1992 Family Survey, although the collection of data was subject to certain constraints (see Measurement Issues and Related Classifications). A measure of number of children ever born is provided by administrative data collected by the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in each State or Territory, although the method of collecting this information varies across States and Territories. This information is available in the Births, Australia (cat. no. 3301.0) publication published by the ABS.