Record low Aussie fertility rate. Births hit 13-year low.

Births; Labour Account

There were 294,369 births registered in Australia in 2020, down by 3.7 per cent (or 11,463 births) from 2019, the fewest births in 13 years.

The Australian total fertility rate (TFR) hit a record-low 1.58 babies per woman in 2020, with Victoria recording the lowest TFR at 1.43 babies per woman.

In seasonally adjusted terms in the September quarter, secondary jobs decreased by 69,600 (or 7.5 per cent) to 856,500 people. But the number of secondary job holders lifted 5.8 per cent or by 46,600 people on a year ago.

The number of multiple job holders fell from a 27-year high of 832,300 people in the June quarter to 767,100 persons in the September quarter, down by 7.8 per cent (or 65,200 job holders). But the number of multiple job holders lifted 5.2 per cent or by 37,700 people on a year ago.

What does it all mean?

• Data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today confirms that Australia’s fertility rate hit a record low of 1.58 babies per woman in 2020. And the number of births registered in Australia hit a 13-year low of 294,369 at the end of 2020.

• Of course, pandemic disruptions and lengthy lockdowns – especially in Melbourne – could be a factor behind Australia’s declining birth rate. In fact, the number of registered births in NSW declined by 3,330 (or 3.4 per cent) and by 3,846 (or 4.9 per cent) in Victoria in 2020.

• Victoria also recorded the lowest total fertility rate at 1.43 babies per woman last year. But fertility rates were highest in relatively “Covid-free” regions, such as the Northern Territory (1.86 babies per woman) and Tasmania (1.77 babies per woman).

• Some demographers and policy makers are concerned that Australia’s declining birth rate has become entrenched during the pandemic and is below what is necessary for the population to replace itself. Of course, with border closures reducing inbound migration and Australia’s population ageing, slowing population growth could present some challenges to Australia’s economic future.

• Fertility rates are falling across much of developed world due to multiple factors, including increased education and paid employment for woman, supported by company maternity and paternity leave policies. Also, many woman are starting families later and others are choosing to be child-free. In fact, the median age for the births registered in 2020 is a record high 31.6 years for mothers and 33.6 years for fathers.

• An increasing number of Aussies have worked two or more jobs over the year to September, 2021. Why? It has become increasingly difficult for some Aussies to get more hours of work in certain occupations and regions due to Covid-19 government restrictions. And the pandemic impact on supply chains and varied demand for goods and services across the economy could be a key factor.

• Of course, the rise of the ‘gig’ economy and a preference for younger and even older Australians to work more flexibly may mean they work multiple jobs at once. Aussies working secondary and multiple jobs hit 27-year highs in the June quarter of 2021 prior to the Delta outbreaks in Australia’s south-east.

What do you need to know?

Births – 2020

• The Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released a report “Births, Australia.” The report details statistics about births and fertility rates for Australia, states and territories, and sub-state regions. (The latest population data is for March 2021).

• According to the ABS, there were 294,369 registered births in Australia in 2020, down 3.7 per cent (or 11,463 births) from 2019. Of these births, 51.3 per cent were males and 63.5 per cent were to married parents.

• In 2020, births decreased by 3,330 to 93,579 in NSW and by 3,846 to 74,617 in Victoria from 2019. But the Northern Territory’s births increased by 103 to 3,716 in 2020.

• The median age for the births registered in 2020 is a record high 31.6 years for mothers and 33.6 years for fathers.

• The total fertility rate (TFR) fell to a record low 1.58 babies per woman in 2020, down from 1.66 babies per woman in 2019 and 2.02 babies per woman in 2008.

• In 2020, the Northern Territory recorded the highest total fertility rate (1.86 babies per woman), followed by Tasmania (1.77 babies per woman). But Victoria recorded the lowest total fertility rate (1.43 babies per woman).

Labour account – September quarter, 2021

• The Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released a report detailing developments in the job market over the September quarter. (The latest labour force report is October 2021).

Secondary and multiple jobs

• According to the Bureau of Statistics, “Secondary jobs are where a person is working more than one job at the same time, and may consist of one or more additional jobs. These jobs can be held by people who have their main job in the same or a different industry.”

• In seasonally adjusted terms in the September quarter, secondary jobs decreased by 69,600 (or 7.5 per cent) to 856,500. The number of secondary job holders lifted 5.8 per cent or by 46,600 people over the year to September.

• The proportion of secondary jobs to filled jobs was 6.1 per cent in the September quarter compared to 6.4 per cent in the previous quarter.

• The three industries with the highest number of secondary jobs were Administrative and support services (124,500); Health care and social assistance (123,300); and Education and training (99,100).

• In seasonally adjusted terms, the number of multiple job holders fell from a 27-year high of 832,300 people in the June quarter to 767,100 persons in the September quarter, down by 7.8 per cent (or 65,200 job holders). But the number of multiple job holders lifted 5.2 per cent or by 37,700 people over the year to September.

Payments

• According to the Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the “Labour Account Payments quadrant presents the costs incurred by enterprises in employing labour, and the incomes received by people from its provision. Total income consists of compensation of employees and labour income from self-employment. The addition of other related costs to employers to total income will derive total labour costs.”

• In seasonally adjusted terms in the September quarter, total labour income increased by $2,955 million (up 1.1 per cent) to $280,026 million. The average labour income per employed person rose by 3.5 per cent to $21,289. Total compensation of employees lifted by 0.4 per cent to $252,511 million.

• Labour income from self-employment jumped by 7.6 per cent to $27,515 million. Total labour costs increased by $692 million (up 0.2 per cent) to $299,036 million.

• And the three industries with the highest total labour income in the quarter were Health care and social assistance ($38.5 billion), Professional, scientific and technical services ($33.1 billion) and Construction ($24.4 billion).