Previous Aboriginal fertility studies based on comprehensive analyses of the 1986 and earlier Australian censuses found a trend of a substantial fertility decline in the 1970s and early 1980s, which led to the conclusion that the decline would continue. However, the results of two recent studies, based on the 1991 Census, contradicted the continuation of Aboriginal fertility decline. In general, the results obtained by analysing Aboriginal fertility level and trend are suspect owing to lack of detailed and reliable Aboriginal demographic data. In particular, the two recent studies are suspect, as the 1991 Census did not collect any fertility information.
This study, utilising data from the 1986 Census, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey 1994 birth registration and midwives' birth notifications compiled by States, attempts to answer the question of whether Aboriginal fertility has declined since the second half of the 1980s. By utilising these sources of data, this study estimates Aboriginal fertility level as well as analyses the trend in fertility. It also estimates Aboriginal fertility level and pattern for most States. The results of the analysis shows that Aboriginal fertility has not declined since the second half of the 1980s as expected. The conclusion discusses some of the implications of the continued moderate Aboriginal fertility. The paper provides suggestions for improving Aboriginal birth registration and midwives' birth notifications data.
ISBN: 0 7315 17776