Still lots of births, but we’re having them later

Births exceed 305,000

Total births increased to 305,377 in 2015, slightly below the record high of 309,582 seen in 2012, reported the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

We already knew this thanks to the quarterly data, which I have plotted here on a rolling annual basis.


Contrary to popular belief, Australians have clearly not stopped having children, but we are having them later.

In fact, teenage fertility fell to its lowest level on record, while the highest fertility rate was for 30 to 34 year olds. 

The median age of mothers increased to 31 in 2015. baby cradle population demographic birth people child increase growth future

Some people seem somewhat confused by this point, thinking that it means the population is falling, but of course, this is nowhere near being the case.

Over the year to March 2016, there was a natural increase (births exceeding deaths) of 146,800 persons.

In addition, there was net overseas immigration of 180,800, meaning that Australia’s total population grew by 327,600 over the year, to beyond 24.05 million.

If you tot up the increase in student and other temporary visas, my personal belief is that population growth will prove to have been stronger than the above reported figures, though only time will tell.

Where? In the capitals, mainly…

At the city level, Sydney continues to pump out the most tin lids, with nearly 400,000 arrivals over the six years to 2015.

There were lots of births in Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth too.


Away from the capitals, the Gold Coast saw the greatest number of births at 6,936, while Ipswich saw 5,935 births in 2015.


Foreign born parents

Another interesting sub-trend is that some 104,900 of the births in 2015 were to parents born overseas.

Notably, children born to Indian and Chinese born parents are now eclipsing those born to Kiwi or Pommie parents.


In fact, Asian born parents accounted for well over half of the total, another indicator of the direction in which Australia’s demographics are heading.

The wrap

What can we read in to all of this?

Quite a bit!

This release does have some implications for Australia’s population pyramid, for it revealed that fertility rates are not falling. 

In fact the fertility rate increased slightly from 2014 to 1.81. 

A lot of people got sucked into the idea that folks in my generation were shunning the idea of having children completely.

Perhaps we were for a while, at least notionally, but in the end of most of us do end up having children.

We’re just doing everything later than our parents did: getting married, buying our first home, and having children.

And with life expectancies increasing to a record high this year, we’re even planning on dying later too.

As for what else?

More than two-thirds of births took place in the capital cities, and almost 125,000 of them in Sydney and Melbourne alone.

Australia’s future population will be bigger, denser, more capital city based.

And more Asian, both in appearance and custom.

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Pete Wargent is a Chartered Accountant, Chartered Secretary and has a Financial Planning Diploma. He’s achieved financial freedom at the age of 33 - as detailed in his book ‘Get a Financial Grip – A Simple Plan for Financial Freedom’. Pete now manages his investment portfolio, travels and works as a consultant in the finance industry from time to time. Visit his blog

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