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Coronavirus crisis: Australia’s birthrate plunges to record low amid pandemic

Melissa IariaNCA NewsWire
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Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: Supplied

Australia’s birthrate has plunged to a record low amid the COVID pandemic, with Victoria leading the falls.

There were 294,369 births registered last year, down 11,463 births, or 3.7 per cent, from 2019, Australian Bureau of Statistics data reveals.

The total fertility rate for all Australian women is 1.58 babies per woman, decreasing from 1.95 babies per woman since 2010.

Victoria, which had the longest lockdown during the pandemic, had the lowest birthrate, with 1.43 births per woman.

There were 3846 less births in the state, a drop of 4.9 per cent.

Cloth nappies drying on the line
Camera IconAustralia’s total fertility rate is 1.58 births per woman, latest ABS figures show. Credit: istock

NSW dropped by 3330 births, down 3.4 per cent, while Queensland declined by 2279 births, a drop of 3.7 per cent.

South Australia fell by 952 births, down 4.9 per cent, Western Australia fell by 1090 births, down 3.3 per cent, and Australian Capital Territory declined by 127 births, down 2 per cent.

“The record low total fertility rate can be attributed to fewer births and birth registrations in most jurisdictions in a year marked by COVID-19 disruptions,” ABS demography director Beidar Cho said.

The Northern Territory and Tasmania were the only places where births increased.

For Australian women in general, the total fertility rate is 1.58 births per woman, but for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, it’s 2.25.

Identical Twin Boys
Camera IconThere were 294,369 registered births in 2020, a drop of 3.7 per cent from 2019. iStock Credit: Supplied

During 2020, the media age of mothers was 31.6 years and fathers 33.6 years.

The nation’s birthrate has fallen slowly over the last 30 years, from 1.9 births per woman in 1990, as women have babies later in life.

The fall is most pronounced in women aged 15 to 19, where the fertility rate dropped by nearly two thirds to 7.8 per 1000 women.

The fertility rate of women aged 20-24 also fell sharply.

09/11/2010 NEWS: 09/11/2010 NEWS: Caucasian pregnant woman with hands on her belly against the blue sky. Pregnant belly . Stomach . Baby . babies . Generic .
Camera IconAustralian women are choosing to have babies later in life. Credit: Supplied

However, the fertility rate of women aged 40-44 has almost tripled over that time to 15.2 per 1000 women.

Women aged 30-34 continue to have the highest fertility rate, with 110 babies per 1000 women, followed by women aged 25-29, with 79.7 babies per 1000 women.

The long-term fall in fertility of younger mums, as well as the continued rise in fertility of older mums, reflected a shift towards later child bearing, Ms Cho said.

This had led to a jump in the median age of mothers to 31.6 years and a fall in Australia’s total fertility rate.

Originally published as Australia’s birthrate plunges to record low amid Covid pandemic

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