Brittany Stack and Darryl Passmore, Sunday Telegraph, January 1, 2012
Australia is in the grip of a mini birthing boom with a record 300,000 babies born in the past 12 months.
According to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 150,300 babies entered the world in the first six months of 2011 and predicted that figure would at least double with statistics showing more babies are born in the latter part of each year.
The birthing explosion will eclipse the 250,000 births recorded at the peak of the original baby boom in 1961.
Social demographers attribute the increase to our growing population, which is expected to reach 23 million sometime in July.
Despite the record number of births to date, Australia’s fertility rate still remains low, signalling only an echo of the post-war baby boom — or mini baby boom.
The fertility rate at the height of the boom in 1961 peaked at 3.5 babies per woman, compared to just 1.89 in 2010.
Social analyst David Chalke said the birth rate had increased in recent years but was still below replacement level.
“Part of what you’ve got now is another echo,” he said. “After many, many years of decline since the ‘60s, the birth rate has picked up a touch, but most of that is to do with women in their 30s recognising their 40s rushing up on them and it’s now or never.
“(From) 1946 to the early ‘60s was the first baby boom, then about 25 years later you get the echo of that first boom, in other words, the children of the first baby boomers are starting to have their kids.”