Australia

Australian Birth Rate Hits Record Low

BY Jessie Zhang TIMEJuly 24, 2022 PRINT

The latest report by Australia’s national health and wellbeing agency has revealed that the country has hit its lowest birth rate in 13 years, as the average age of first-time parents continues to increase.

Australia’s birth rate fell considerably between 2007 and 2020, from 66 per 1,000 to 56 per 1,000.

During the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of babies born declined by about 7,100, or a drop of over two percent, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report.

The average age of all mothers has steadily increased over time, with mothers now giving birth at 30.9, up from 30 in 2010.

The proportion of mothers aged 40 and over has also climbed from 4.1 percent to 4.5.

Research shows that older mothers are more likely to need emergency help when delivering their babies, and with a higher proportion of older mothers, the number of caesarian sections has also increased.

Ostensibly, the percentage of mothers who also gave birth by c-section rose by five percent to 37 percent, or more than one in three, in the previous decade.

“More than nine in ten of the almost 296,000 babies born in Australia during 2020 were born at term and at a healthy birth weight,” AIHW spokesperson Deanna Eldridge said.

However, over the past ten years, stillbirth and newborn death rates have remained between seven and eight for every 1,000 births and between two and three for every 1,000 live births.

“One of the most amazing and challenging times in a family is pregnancy and the welcoming of a new baby, but tragically some families experience the loss of their baby,” Eldridge said.

Findings Consistent With Australia’s National Statistical Agency

Epoch Times Photo
A father prepares to change the diaper of his newborn daughter as his wife looks on in a hospital. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Many of AIHW’s findings were consistent with the country’s fertility trends revealed in the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)’s latest report.

Between 1972 to 2020, ABS found that the average age of mothers rose from 25 to 32.

In 2020, the median age of mothers was 31.6 and fathers 33.6 years.

51.3 of births logged were males, and 63.5 percent were to parents in a registered marriage.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare is expected to release a more detailed report on stillbirths and neonatal deaths in November.

Jessie Zhang
Reporter
Jessie Zhang is a reporter based in Sydney covering Australian news, focusing on health and environment. Contact her at jessie.zhang@epochtimes.com.au.
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