Baby boom

I think Mark Steyn is spot on to fear the fall in birth rates in Western countries, so this is great news.

More babies were born last year than in any since official records began, with the exception of 1971.

And Australians are having their babies later in life – the median age of a first-time mum last year was almost 31, while the average dads were just over 33 years of age. These are the highest-ever median ages for new parents.

The fertility rate – the number of children an average woman is expected to have in her lifetime – rose to 1.81 last year, up from 1.79 the previous year.

The Federal Government’s baby bonus – introduced in 2004 and now worth $4000 per baby – has been widely credited with encouraging Australians to have more kids.

Figures released today showed 265,900 births were registered in 2006, the highest number since the 276,400 births reported 35 years previously.

The fertility rate is still below replacement level, 2.1 but it appears to be rising. I wonder what the ethnic breakdown is?

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