Australia Sees Shift in Maternal Trends: Fewer Births and Later Parenthood

In a recent release of data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, it has been revealed that Australian women are opting for fewer children and delaying motherhood. Emily Walter, Head of Demography at ABS, noted that this trend aligns with the evolving landscape of parenthood over the past four decades.

Key Highlights:

  1. Delayed Motherhood: The average age of both mothers and fathers has steadily risen since the mid-1970s. In 1975, less than 20% of births were to mothers aged 30-39, whereas now, nearly 60% of births fall within this age group.![Graph](insert link to graph)
  2. Declining Fertility Rates: The total fertility rate has consistently remained below the replacement rate since 1976. In 2022, it was recorded at 1.63 births per woman, lower than 2021 but higher than 2020. However, fertility rates for women in their late 30s and early 40s have seen a significant increase.
  3. Fertility Rate Shift: From 1991 to 2022, the fertility rate for mothers aged 35-39 has almost doubled, and for mothers aged 40-44, it has nearly tripled. Conversely, teenage mothers now have a historically low fertility rate of 6.8 births per 1,000 women.
  4. Total Births: In 2022, Australia registered 300,684 births, a decrease from 2021 but higher than 2020. Women aged 30-34 had the highest fertility rate, followed by those aged 25-29.
  5. Regional Variances: The Northern Territory recorded the highest total fertility rate, followed by New South Wales and Queensland, while the Australian Capital Territory had the lowest.

Ms. Walter stated, “This shift towards older parenthood is reflective of societal changes, with young people reaching milestones like leaving home, gaining economic independence, and forming relationships later in life compared to previous decades.” The data signals a dynamic evolution in family planning and societal norms in Australia.