Having children

The latest material added to the Australian Institute of Family Studies library database is displayed, up to a maximum of 30 items. Where available online, a link to the document is provided. Many items can be borrowed from the Institute's library via the Interlibrary loan system.

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Births, Australia 2019

Australian Bureau of Statistics
Canberra, ACT : Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2020.
This website presents statistics on births and fertility trends in Australia. Information is provided for 2019 on the total fertility rate, registered births, maternal age, multiple births, Indigenous parents, births in each state and territory, and births mapped against capital city areas. Information is taken from registered births and projections based on 2016 Census data. There were 305,832 registered births in 2019, down 3% from 2018. Of the children born, 51.5% were male and 64.4% were to married parents. The total fertility rate was 1.66 births per woman, which has been below replacement since 1976.

Can increased educational attainment explain declining Indigenous fertility?

Venn D and Dinku Y
Australian Journal of Social Issues v. 55 no. 3 Sep 2020: 339-353
Though Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are more likely to have children - and have more children - than non-Indigenous women, fertility rates have been declining since the 1970s, the same as for non-Indigenous women. This article investigates whether this trend is due to increased educational attainment. Using data from the 2006, 2011 and 2016 Census, the article looks at educational gradients in fertility among Indigenous women. The findings indicate that education has been a big driver of falling fertility rates, though with a smaller impact in remote areas.

'I felt like less than a shadow in the room' : systematic review of the experiences and needs of new fathers.

Venning A, Herd M, Smith D, Lawn S, Mohammadi L, Glover F, Redpath P and Quartermain V
Psychology of Men and Masculinities 30 Apr 2020: Advance online publication
This article explores new fathers' experiences with parenting supports during the perinatal period, including their support needs and the barriers and challenges they face in accessing services. It presents a review of literature, focusing on studies that captured fathers' views and voices. The findings reveal use of a range of formal and informal sources of support, but also issues in engaging with support due to unawareness, inaccessibility, exclusion, stigma, or privacy.

A projection of Australia's future fertility rates

McDonald P
Parkes, A.C.T. ; Centre for Population, 2020.
This paper analyses past fertility trends in Australia and presents three possible projections of future fertility rates. Fertility rates have generally been in decline over the last 60 years since the Baby Boom, falling from an average of 3.55 babies per woman in 1961 to around 1.74 in 2018. Under the most likely projection, the fertility rate is expected to drop to 1.59 next year and rise to 1.69 by 2024, before resuming a downward trend to 1.62 by the end of the decade. The paper is accompanied by two separate spreadsheets: 'Estimates of historical fertility rates by single year of age, for Australia and by state/territory, by financial year, measured by occurrence', by The Centre for Population and, the author's 'Projections of future fertility rates for Australia and by state/territory for three scenarios'. As this paper was finished just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, this second spreadsheet includes extra-analyses about the possible impact of the pandemic on fertility 2031/32. It presents three scenarios: the pandemic has no impact, the most likely impact, or a more severe impact.

The impact of paid parental leave on fertility intentions.

Bassford M and Fisher H
Economic Record v. 96 no. 315 Dec 2020: 402-430
This paper investigates whether access to paid parental leave affects the fertility desires and intentions of working women in Australia. Data is taken from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, for working women aged 21 to 45 years old. The government introduced paid parental leave scheme in 2011, but some private schemes also existed - allowing a comparison of other factors. The study found that the announcement of the new scheme had no impact on fertility intentions overall, but that, for women wanting to have at least one child, the total number of desired children increased by 16%. This effect is seen mostly among highly educated women.

Having children

Qu L
Southbank, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2020.
This paper highlights trends in fertility over the last forty years in Australia, as part of a series celebrating the anniversary of the Australian Institute of Families Studies. The fact sheet draws on data from the Census and the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey to look at trends in the number of births and total fertility rate, the age of first time mothers, the number of children a women has ever had (by age 45-49), association with education level, and young men and women's desire and expectations for having children. Over time there has been a gradual increase in the age of Australian women giving birth to their first child, with women also now having fewer children: the proportion of women who have had three or more children has fallen and the proportion who have had no or only one child has increased. However, while few young people in their early twenties had children, most indicate that they want to and were likely to have children in the future.

As millennials near 40, they're approaching family life differently than previous generations: three-in-ten Millennials live with a spouse and child compared with 40% of Gen Xers at a comparable age

Barroso A, Parker K and Bennett J
Washington, D.C. : Pew Research Center, 2020.
This report compares trends in family formation across the generations in America, focusing particularly on when and if young adults in the 'Millennial' generation are meeting the same milestones. Data is taken from the Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) to the U.S. Census Bureau's monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) of approximately 60,000 households. In 2020, Millennials range in age from 24 to 39, a stage of life where marriage and parenthood have traditionally been common. This report looks at how Millennials are forming their own families - focusing on living arrangements, marriage rates and birth rates - and compares Millennials to previous generations at the same age: that is, Millennials in 2019, Gen Xers in 2003, Baby Boomers in 1987, and members of the Silent Generation in 1968. The analysis finds that Millennials are less likely to have achieved these milestones: they are less likely to have a family of their own than previous generations were at the same stage of life and are getting married and having children at an older age, if at all.

Bringing men in from the margins : father-inclusive practices for the delivery of parenting interventions.

Pfitzner N, Humphreys C and Hegarty K
Child and Family Social Work v. 25 special issue S1 Aug 2020: 198-206
Much of the research on engaging men in family services focuses on the barriers to access. This article focuses instead on the factors that retain men, drawing on a study of fathers in the Australian Baby Makes 3 (BM3) programme in Victoria. BM3 is a pilot universal intimate partner violence prevention programme that aims to promote equal and respectful relationships between men and women during the transition to parenthood. Couples attend three group sessions with mixed- and single-gender group discussions, role plays and homework exercises. It was trialled in seven largely middle-class municipalities in Victoria from 2013 to 2015 and offered alongside the New Parenting Groups, which are free, voluntary, 3-week respectful relationships programmes offered to all first time parents in Victoria. Drawing on interviews and focus groups with fathers, programme facilitators and nurses, this article explores the factors that promote father engagement. The findings reveal that men have shared experiences of transitioning to parenthood, which foster understanding, comfort and engagement within the group setting, and that male-only groups can provide a safe space for such interaction. The findings suggest that men often feel silenced and marginalised in mixed group setting.

Minding the Baby home-visiting programme for vulnerable young mothers: results of a randomised controlled trial in the UK

Longhi E
London : NSPCC, 2019.
Minding the Baby is a preventative home-visiting parenting programme for first-time mothers between the ages of 14 and 25. Following on from promising findings in the United States, this report evaluates the programme in the United Kingdom. A randomised controlled trial was undertaken with 148 young mothers from Glasgow, Sheffield and York, with participants assessed from pregnancy to two years after birth. The programme aims to promote parental reflective functioning and combines practice elements from models of nurse home-visiting and mother-child psychotherapy. A pair of social workers and nurse practitioners work together with each young mother to promote sensitive caregiving and secure mother-child attachment, as well as maternal and child health and wellbeing. The study found that the programme did not improve maternal sensitivity, though some evidence was found for positive impacts on other outcomes.

Births, Australia 2018

Australian Bureau of Statistics
Canberra, ACT : Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2019.
This website presents detailed statistics on live births and fertility trends in Australia. Information is provided for 2018 on the total fertility rate, registered births, maternal age, multiple births, Indigenous parents, births in each state and territory, and births mapped against capital city areas. Information is taken from registered births and projections based on 2016 Census data. In 2018, there were 315,147 registered births with a total fertility rate of 1.74 births per woman. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, total fertility rate was 2.37 births per woman. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women also tend to give birth at young ages: almost three-quarters of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander births registered were to women under 30 years of age, as compared to 40.1% of births of the general population.

The ties that bind : is faith a global force for good or ill in the family?

World family map 2019 : mapping family change and child well-being outcomes. Charlottesville, VA : Institute for Family Studies, 2019: 3-55
This essay considers whether religion a force for good or ill in the family by considering its role in four key family outcomes: relationship quality, fertility, domestic violence and infidelity. Faith may help promote marriage and fertility by attaching particular meaning and importance to family life and by offering norms and networks that foster family solidarity, but it has also been seen as legitimating gender inequality and violence and abuse in the family. This essay features 3 chapters: Faith and fertility in the 21st century; Faith, feminism, and marriage: institutions, norms, and relationship quality; and Religion, intimate partner violence, and infidelity. The chapters draw upon data from the World Values Survey and the Global Family and Gender Survey, for Argentina, Australia, Chile, Canada, Colombia, France, Ireland, Mexico, Peru, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The essay concludes with the sidebar 'The family that prays together flourishes together' and country data.

Births in Australia

Australian Institute of Family Studies
Southbank, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2019.
This webpage provides charts and statistics on births in Australia in 2017. Drawing on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, it looks at trends in the number of births, total fertility rate, age-specific fertility rate, age of new mothers, and the rate of ex-nuptial births. The number of births in Australia peaked in 2016 at 311,104, and is only slightly lower in 2017 at 309,142. However, the total fertility rate is 1.74 and the lowest rate on record, declining from a peak of 3.55 in 1961.

The consequences of extending equitable property division divorce laws to cohabitants

Chigavazira A, Fisher H, Robinson T and Zhu A
Indooroopilly, Qld. : Life Course Centre, Institute for Social Science Research, University of Queensland, 2019.
From March 2009, unmarried couples were granted the same post-separation financial rights as married couples across Australia. This paper investigates whether these new rights have affected unmarried couples' investment in their relationship, in terms of household specialisation, male breadwinner and female home maker roles, having more children, and becoming home owners. Overall, partner, and financial satisfaction are also considered. The paper compares married and cohabitating people's behaviours and attitudes, using data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey. Since the law reform, men have increased their employment, women have increased time spent on housework, and couples are more likely to have more children and become home owners. The findings indicate that a potentially unintended consequence of this law reform is that they make unmarried couples behave more like married couples, with unmarried couples more likely to make such relationship-specific investments now that laws provide for the equitable redistribution of property in the event of relationship breakdown.

Addressing the needs of first-time fathers in Tasmania : a qualitative study of father-only antenatal groups.

Bash M
Australian Journal of Rural Health v. 26 no. 2 Apr 2018: 106-111
This article explores men's experiences of a two different antenatal support groups for new fathers in rural Tasmania. Twenty-five participants were interviewed, who had attended either a more informal health information session held in a pub, or a parenting support group session held in hospital or local community centre. The men were asked about their reasons for attending an antenatal group, their experience of the group setting, masculine stereotypes in antenatal groups, and information needs. Many of the men reported preferring information-based sessions rather than discussion-based groups, and made recommendations for program design and content.

Barriers to first time parent groups : a qualitative descriptive study.

Barrett N, Hanna L and Fitzpatrick O
Nursing & Health Sciences v. 20 no. 4 Dec 2018: 464-471
This article explores mothers' views of parenting groups, with the aim of gaining insights into why some new parents choose not to attend. Interviews were conducted with 8 first-time mothers in a regional city in Victoria, regarding barriers to participation, perceived relevance, and their thoughts on why fathers might under-represented. One particular view raised was that such support groups reinforced traditional and stereotypical gender roles, excluding fathers.

The legacy, legality and legitimacy of adopting out : examining the legitimacy of adoption through birth mother experiences.

Webster A
Peer reviewed papers from the FRSA 2018 National Conference : be the change - leaving no one behind. Fyshwick, ACT : Family & Relationship Services Australia, 2018: 3-12
This paper presents findings from the author's PhD research into the vulnerabilities and dependencies experienced that birth mothers who are choosing to adopt out their baby. Drawing on focus groups with birth mothers, the research explores the social context in which adopting out might be considered a legitimate choice and the institutional factors involved, with reference to Misztal's vulnerability framework. The author contends that the disconnect between the legality and the legitimacy of choosing to adopt out results in additional vulnerability for birth mothers. This paper is an expanded and peer reviewed version of an abstract accepted by the conference for presentation.

Trends in partnering and fertility among the Indigenous population

Venn D and Crawford H
Canberra, ACT : Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, 2018.
This paper explores trends in family formation for Indigenous people in Australia over the last decade. Using Census data from 2006 to 2016, it examines the number and characteristics of Indigenous people having partners and having children, with particular focus on variations between Indigenous people living in remote and non-remote parts of Australia and by education level. Previous research has found that family formation patterns of Indigenous Australians differ from those of non-Indigenous Australians, with Indigenous people less likely to be living in a registered or de facto marriage and Indigenous women more likely to have children - and a greater number - than non-Indigenous women. However, educational levels and participation are known to affect these decisions, and Indigenous Australians have experienced rapidly increasing educational attainment in recent years. The findings of this paper in part reflect this trend. Teenage parenthood has reduced considerably, and an increasing proportion of Indigenous women are postponing childbirth from their teens into their 20s and 30s. However, there has been a very large reduction in partnering for 3 groups: people in remote areas, people with less than Year 12 education, and people in their 20s. Possible factors for these trends are briefly considered.

Australian demographic statistics, June quarter 2018

Australian Bureau of Statistics
Canberra, ACT : Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2018.
This series provides quarterly estimates of the population in Australia, including total resident population, state and territory population, population by gender and age group, births and deaths, interstate and overseas movements, population projections, and number of households by state, territory, and capital cities. This edition presents data as of June 2018, with estimates to 2066. The preliminary estimated resident population (ERP) of Australia at 30 June 2018 was 24,992,400 people. Although the majority of states and territories experienced positive population growth in the year ended 30 June 2018, the amount due to natural increase, net overseas migration, and net interstate migration varied.

Childbearing for women born in different years, England and Wales, 2017

Great Britain. Office for National Statistics
Newport, Wales : Office for National Statistics, 2018.
This report presents statistics on childbearing among women in England and Wales by the year of birth of the mother, rather than year of birth of the child. It compares the fertility levels of current generations of women of childbearing age with previous generations, looking at changes in average family size, levels of childlessness, and the proportions of women having one, two, or more children. Women born in the 1960s onwards have had fewer children by their 30th birthday than previous generations and this postponement of childbearing has subsequently been reflected in smaller completed family sizes.

Births in England and Wales, 2017

Great Britain. Office for National Statistics
Newport, Wales : Office for National Statistics, 2018.
This report presents statistics on live births, stillbirths, and the total fertility rate in England and Wales in 2017. In 2017, there were 679,106 live births - the lowest number of live births since 2006 - and the total fertility rate also declined for the fifth consecutive year. Just over half of all live births were born to parents who were married or in a civil partnership, and 28.4% of live births were to mothers born outside the UK, following a gradual rise from 11.6% in 1990. Fertility rates for women aged 40 years and over have been following a long-term rise, and is now at its highest level since 1949: for the third consecutive year the fertility rate for women aged 40 years and over exceeded the rate for women aged under 20 years; this pattern was last recorded in 1947.

Engaging men as fathers : how gender influences men's involvement in Australian family health services.

Pfitzner N, Humphreys C and Hegarty K
Journal of Family Issues v. 39 no. 16 2018: 3956-3985
Despite the modern ideals of 'involved fatherhood' and shared caregiving, parenting services and programs continue to be oriented toward mothers rather than mothers and fathers as co-parents. This article investigates how gender impacts on service providers' engagement with new fathers, drawing on a case study of the Baby Makes 3 respectful relationships program. This 3-week pilot program is being trialled in Victoria by Maternal and Child Health Services, as part of their suite of free programs offered to all new, first time parents. It is a universal intervention targeting fathers in health settings and aims to prevent intimate partner violence by promoting equal and respectful relationships between men and women during the transition to parenthood. The article reports on staff and father views on the gender-related factors that shape men's father identities, behaviours, and decisions to participate, and contends that valuing men's transition to fatherhood might not only increase father engagement in parenting support services, but also their participation in care work.

Births, Australia 2017

Australian Bureau of Statistics
Canberra, ACT : Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2018.
This website presents detailed statistics on live births and fertility trends in Australia. Information is provided for 2017 on the total fertility rate, registered births, maternal age, multiple births, Indigenous parents, births in each state and territory, and births mapped against capital city areas. Information is taken from registered births and projections based on 2016 Census data. In 2017, 309,142 births were registered, resulting in a total fertility rate of 1.74 babies per woman - the lowest rate since 2001. The fertility rate continues to rise for women aged 35 years and over but is falling in most other age groups: over the past 30 years, the fertility rate has more than doubled for women aged 35-39, tripled for women aged 40-44 years old, but nearly halved for teenage women.

Support for new parents and babies in New South Wales

Conolly K
Sydney, N.S.W. : Parliament of New South Wales, 2018.
This inquiry investigates current services and supports for parents of infants in New South Wales, and how they can be improved. Research highlights the benefits and cost-effectiveness of early intervention and support for parents during their children's early years, so this inquiry was established to examine the adequacy of current services and structures, especially for vulnerable parents, and consider the changes to current services and structures that could improve physical health, mental health and child protection outcomes, models of support provided in other jurisdictions, and the opportunities for new and emerging technology to enhance support. This report presents the findings and recommendations of the inquiry, beginning with the need for better coordinated and integrated universal child and family health services. Topics include home visiting services and services targeting fathers, perinatal mental health, parents with disability, Indigenous families, parents from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and young homeless parents.

'It's just good to get a bit of man-talk out in the open' : men's experiences of father-only antenatal preparation classes in Tasmania, Australia.

Nash M
Psychology of Men and Masculinity v. 19 no. 2 2018: 298-307
This article explores new fathers' views of their antenatal support and information needs and father-only antenatal support groups. It draws on interviews with 25 men in Tasmania, who attended either a more informal health information session held in a pub, or a parenting support group session held in hospital or local community centre. The men were interviewed before and after the birth of their child, to explore how they experience the transition to fatherhood, their support and information needs, how they negotiate masculinity and involved fatherhood, and their views on the course content and format.

First-time parents' knowledge of early child development: focus group report

Guzman L
Bethesda, MD : Child Trends, 2018.
A study is underway into first-time parents of young children in America about what they know, and want to know, about parenting and early childhood development, where they get their information, and the sources they use and trust. This report presents the findings of focus groups held to gain further insights into the research literature. Ninety parents took part, and gender, ethnic, and socio-economic differences in knowledge and views are also investigated. Overall, the participants are active and savvy consumers of information - they feel well-informed, though they have many unanswered questions. However, the findings reveal clear gaps in parents' knowledge as well as some degree of uncertainty about how to best support their children's development. The findings from a literature review, and a research-to-practice brief of the overall findings of the study, have also been published separately.

Parenting knowledge among first-time parents of young children: a research-to-practice brief

Bartlett J, Guzman L and Ramos-Olazagasti M
Bethesda, MD : Child Trends, 2018.
This research-to-practice brief highlights findings and recommendations from a U.S. study of first-time parents of young children and their knowledge about parenting and child development. The study involved a review of the literature and focus groups with first-time parents of infants and toddlers, to learn more about what parents know, and want to know, about parenting and early childhood development, where they get their information, and the sources they use and trust. Based on the findings, the study made recommendations for service design and engaging parents. Though parents do not feel uninformed, they have many questions and want information accompanied by clear, non-judgmental steps for putting it into practice. The findings from the literature review and the focus groups are also published separately in more detail.

The influence of income and work hours on first birth for Australian women.

Kingsley M
Journal of Population Research v. 35 no. 2 Jun 2018: 107-129
This article adds to the evidence on socioeconomic differences on when mothers first have kids. Previous research on first birth timing has used education as a proxy for socioeconomic status; this article uses data on income and work hours. Using data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, it finds that higher weekly wages makes first-time motherhood more likely at an older age and less likely among younger women. In terms of working hours, part-time employment is significantly associated with having a child, regardless of age.

Geographic variation in parity progression in Australia.

Gray E and Evans A
Population, Space and Place v. 24 no. 2 Mar 2018: e2080
This article explores whether there are geographic variations in fertility across Australia. Using data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, it models the likelihood of women having a first, second, or third child by city, suburb, regional, or remote area location. Overall, the strong two-child norm in Australia persists, and is driven largely by age and relationship status rather than external variables such as geography. However, women living in smaller inner regional towns are more likely to have a first, second, and third birth, and women in capital cities and inner and middle suburbs are less likely to have a first birth. This may be related to housing size, with houses in outer suburbs and regional areas tending to be larger than houses in the inner and middle suburbs.

Parents' subjective well-being after their first child and declining fertility expectations.

Luppi F and Mencarini L
Demographic Research v. 39 2018: 285-314 (Article 9)
Research has found that subjective well-being is positively associated to wanting and having more children, yet other research has found a significant decline in subjective well-being following childbearing. This article investigates the association between wellbeing and parenthood further, using data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey. It analyses how the birth of a first child changes parents' satisfaction across several life domains and changes their expectations about having another child, over the first four years. Rather than using a measure of overall satisfaction with life, it considers the influence of separate areas of life: work, partner relationships, the new baby, own parents, housing, environment, health, and leisure. The findings indicate that a decline in new parents' life satisfaction is indeed associated with a significant decline in fertility expectations. In particular, mothers' fertility expectations are positively associated with their satisfaction with career prospects and work-family balance, and fathers' fertility expectations are positively associated with their financial situation. These findings provide new insights into the association between wellbeing and fertility.

Unintended and unwanted pregnancy in Australia : a cross-sectional, national random telephone survey of prevalence and outcomes.

Taft A, Shankar M, Black K, Mazza D, Hussainy S and Lucke J
Medical Journal of Australia v. 209 no. 9 8 Oct 2018: 407-408
This letter reports on a national survey into the prevalence and outcomes of unintended pregnancy in Australia over the last 10 years. 2,013 women aged 18-45 years old were surveyed regarding whether they had had an unintended pregnancy during the past ten years, whether any unintended pregnancy was unwanted, use of contraception, and the outcomes of all pregnancies. The survey found 26% of the respondents had fallen pregnant in the past ten years without planning to do so, and 30.4% of unintended pregnancies ended in abortions. These findings update the last national household survey on this topic, which was undertaken in 2005.
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