Key statistics and trends

Many of the demographics and characteristics of mothers and babies in Australia are similar from year to year. However, trends over time can reveal interesting patterns. This section presents longer term trends for key topics, from 1998 (or earliest available year of data) to 2020.

In 2020, there were 295,976 babies born to 291,712 mothers in Australia, and the birth rate was 56 per 1,000 women. However, the number of mothers and babies, and the rate of women of reproductive age giving birth, has fluctuated over time.

Between 1998 and 2020:

  • the number of mothers ranged from 310,247 to 250,071
  • the number of babies ranged from 314,814 to 254,326
  • the rate of women giving birth ranged from 66 per 1,000 women in 2007 to 56 per 1,000 women in 2020.

Over time, the following notable changes were seen:

  • an increase in the average age of first-time mothers (from 28.3 years in 2010 to 29.6 years in 2020)
  • a decrease in smoking at any time during pregnancy (from 14.6% in 2009 to 9.2% in 2020)
  • an increase in caesarean section births (from 29% in 2004 to 37% in 2020)
  • an increase in induction of labour (from 26% in 1998 to 36% in 2020).

Select the topic of interest and hover over the line graph below to view data on selected maternal and baby trends from 1998 (or earliest available year of data).

The figure shows a range of statistics for mothers and babies, between 1998 and 2020. Over this period, the number of mothers was between 250,071 and 310,247 and the number of babies was between 254,326 and 314,814. In 2020, there were 291,712 mothers and 295,976 babies.

For more information on the liveborn ratio of male to female babies see National Perinatal Data Collection annual update data table 3.2.