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Births, Australia

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

Reference period
2018

Key statistics

  • There were 315,147 registered births, an increase of 1.9% from 2017.
  • For all Australian women, the total fertility rate was 1.74 births per woman.
  • For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, the total fertility rate was 2.37 births per woman.
  • The net reproductive rate was steady at 0.838.
Summary statistics
200820172018
Births
Malesno.155,204159,221162,088
Femalesno.147,068149,921153,059
Personsno.302,272309,142315,147
Sex ratioratio105.5106.2105.9
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Persons(a)no.16,09020,40021,928
Fertility
Total fertility rate(b)rate2.0231.7411.740
Total fertility rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women(a)(b)(c)rate2.3682.2572.371
Crude birth rate(d)rate14.212.612.6
  1. 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.
  2. Births per 1,000 females.
  3. Fertility rates for 2017 and 2018 are calculated using 2016 Census-based population projections.
  4. Births per 1,000 estimated resident population.

National

Births registered

  • There were 315,147 births, increasing by 1.9% (or 6,005 births) from 2017. 
  • 51.4% were males, resulting in a sex ratio at birth of 105.9 male births per 100 female births. 
  • 64.7% were to parents in a registered marriage.
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Median age of parents

For births registered in 2018, the median age of: 

  • mothers was 31.4 years
  • fathers was 33.5 years 
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  1. Not available for 1974 and earlier years.

Multiple births

A multiple birth is a pregnancy which results in two or more children, at least one of which is live-born.

  • 1.4% (or 4,500) of pregnancies resulted in a multiple birth, remaining relatively consistent over the past decade.
  • 63 of these pregnancies were triplets or higher order. 

Although there was an increase in the number of total pregnancies, there were 28 less multiple births in 2018 than in 2017.

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 1.74 babies per woman in 2018, decreasing from 2.02 babies per woman since 2008 
  • has been below replacement since 1976
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Age-specific fertility rate

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

  • Women aged 30-34 years had the highest fertility rate at 120 babies per 1,000 women, increasing from 107 babies in 1998. 
  • Conversely, the teenage fertility rate declined. There were 9.5 babies per 1,000 women aged 15-19 years in 2018, down from 19 babies in 1998.
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States and territories

Births registered

  • New South Wales had the largest increase in the number of births since 2017 (11,043 births or 11.7%). 
  • Queensland recorded an increase of 649 births (or 1.1%) from 2017. 
  • Victoria recorded the largest decrease in registered births (-3,756 births or -4.5%). 
Births registered by state and territory
201720182017-18 (no.)2017-18 (%)
New South Wales(a)94,420105,46311,04311.7
Victoria(b)83,43179,675-3,756-4.5
Queensland61,30761,9566491.1
South Australia19,08719,154670.4
Western Australia34,46133,211-1,250-3.6
Tasmania5,5625,525-37-0.7
Northern Territory3,8154,0512366.2
Australian Capital Territory7,0596,112-947-13.4
Australia309,142315,1476,0051.9
  1. Some of the increases were due to a catch-up in registration processing lags. 
  2. Victorian Registry addressed their backlog of registrations in 2016 and 2017, as a result, birth registrations for 2016 and 2017 were higher than usual. Registrations for 2018 returned to normal and hence show a decrease when compared with the 2016 and 2017 registrations. 

Median age of parents

The oldest median ages for mothers and fathers were in:

  • the Australian Capital Territory (32.3 years for mothers and 34.2 years for fathers)
  • Victoria (32.0 years for mothers and 33.9 years for fathers)

The youngest median ages for mothers were in:

  • Northern Territory (29.7 years)
  • Tasmania (30.2 years)

The youngest median ages for fathers were in:

  • Tasmania (32.1 years)
  • Northern Territory (32.5 years)

Multiple births

Pregnancies in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and Victoria had higher proportions of multiple births (each 1.5%) than any other state or territory.

Multiple births by state and territory(a)
SingleTwinsTriplets and higher orderTotal multiple birthsTotal confinements
New South Wales104,1471,573191,592105,739
Victoria76,2071,130151,14577,352
Queensland60,2398291584461,083
South Australia18,592261426218,854
Western Australia32,375440844832,823
Tasmania5,392733765,468
Northern Territory3,951493504,001
Australian Capital Territory5,213804815,294
Australia(b)306,1564,437634,500310,656
  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. Includes Other Territories.

Total fertility rate

  • Northern Territory recorded the highest total fertility rate (2.03 babies per woman), followed by New South Wales (1.86 babies per woman). 
  • Australian Capital Territory recorded the lowest total fertility rate (1.55 babies per woman). 
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  1. Includes Other Territories.

Net reproductive rate

The net reproductive rate is the average number of daughters surviving to reproductive age per woman.

  • Victoria had the lowest net reproductive rate (0.770). 
  • Northern Territory had the highest net reproductive rate (0.973). 
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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Births registered

There were 21,928 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander births registered, an increase of 7.5% (or 1,528 babies) from 2017. This represents 7.0% of all births registered in 2018. 

  • New South Wales and Queensland recorded the highest number of births (7,339 and 6,405 respectively). 
  • Australian Capital Territory recorded the lowest number of births (259). 
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander births, year of registration
20112012201320142015201620172018
New South Wales(a)5,4755,3535,8014,9315,9115,5775,9057,339
Victoria1,2021,4381,5021,4621,3701,6401,8371,864
Queensland(b)5,2805,6485,2055,3945,2485,4566,6156,405
South Australia9198689409259499521,0161,068
Western Australia2,4862,6522,7342,7952,9852,7502,7732,704
Tasmania486536526545515585612578
Northern Territory1,5881,5881,4451,4861,3651,3731,4021,711
Australian Capital Territory185212215241194227240259
Australia17,62118,29518,36817,77918,53718,56020,40021,928
  1. Some of the increases were due to a catch-up in registration processing lags. 
  2. Some of the increases in 2017 were due to a catch-up in registration lags

Median age of parents

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

  • Almost three-quarters (72.4%) were registered to women under 30 years of age.
  • This compares to 40.1% of births of all Australian women of the same age.

Of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders that registered a birth in 2018, the median age of: 

  • women was 26.0 years, about six years younger than the median age of all mothers (31.4 years)
  • men was 28.2 years, about five years younger than the median age of all fathers (33.5 years)

Total fertility rate

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

  • 2.37 babies per woman
  • higher than for all Australian women (1.74)

Age-specific fertility rate

The fertility rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander:

  • teenagers aged 15-19 years was five times the teenage fertility rate for all women (48.1 and 9.5 births per 1,000 women respectively)
  • women aged 20-24 years was three times the fertility rate for all women of the same age (129.0 and 42.6 respectively)

Conversely, the fertility rate for all women aged 40-44 years was one and a half times the fertility rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women of the same age (16.0 and 11.1 respectively).

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Data downloads

Table 1: Births, summary, Statistical Areas level 4 - 2012 to 2018

Table 2: Births, summary, Statistical Areas level 2 - 2012 to 2018

Table 3: Births, summary, Local Government Areas - 2012 to 2018

Table 4: Births, summary, Remoteness Areas - 2012 to 2018

Table 5: Births, summary, Remoteness Areas, Indigenous status - 2011 to 2018

Table 6: Births, country of birth of parent, Australia - 2018