That it comes just after our conservative Federal government greatly increased payments to mothers is just a coincidence of course.... Excerpt from here:
"A new mini baby boom is filling cots across the country. More babies were born last year than in almost a decade, Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures show. Overall, there were 3,100 more births in 2004 than the year before. A total of 254,200 babies were born, increasing the national fertility rate to 1.77 babies per woman, up from 1.75 in 2003.
Some commentators have linked the rise in births to the federal government's revamped $3,000 "baby bonus", paid to mothers upon the birth of their child since July 2004. Increases in other family payments and widespread fears about women "waiting too long" to have children are also reasons cited for the trend.
Women in their early 30s are driving the new baby boom, the ABS says, but those in the 35-39 year age gap are also having more kids. There were 114.4 babies born for every 1,000 women aged 30 to 34, while 57.4 babies were born for every 1,000 women aged 35 to 39 in 2004. The median age of all mothers who gave birth last year was 30.6 years, but women who had a child out of wedlock were likely to be younger, with a median age of just 26.9 years.
Over the past five years, Australia's fertility rate was on average slightly higher than the UK's and Canada's and slightly lower than the United States' and New Zealand's. Hong Kong has an average fertility rate of 0.9 births per woman and Niger a rate of 7.9."
Interesting that the prosperous Chinese of Hong Kong are even worse at having kids than we are. It looks like Australia's Asian minority (about 10% of the population) is not going to be much help
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