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More Babies? - Maybe

The ABS released quarterly demographic statistics this week which at first glance suggest babies are booming in Australia. The latest two quarters available, June and September 2006, show 68,009 and 67,463 registered births compared to the previous two quarters 66,733 and 62,052. This gives an increase of 5.2% from one six months to the next.

Birth rates are notoriously tricky to track. It requires accurate data on women of childbearing age and you need to know whether births are first or later children to calculate whether overall fertility rates are having a population impact. Australian demographers Peter MacDonald and Rebecca Kippen from ANU are soon to publish a paper which may help provide better lead indicators of fertility change. In the meantime, we'll just have to go on our gut feel for the change in number of baby strollers at the local coffee shop.

Posted Saturday, 24 March 2007

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