New projections for Australia's 10-year fertility rate

Australia’s fertility rate will temporarily dip in 2021 following the COVID‑19 pandemic before rising again in the mid-2020’s and settling to a long-term average by 2030.

The first research report commissioned by the Federal Government’s Centre for Population provides a road map for Australia’s population composition in the post-COVID‑19 years.

A Projection of Australia’s Future Fertility Rate forecasts the fertility rate will drop to 1.59 babies per woman in 2021 compared with 1.70 babies per woman in 2018 and then transition to a long-term average of 1.62 in 2030.

This expert analysis by leading demographer Professor Peter McDonald projects that Australian families will have fewer children in the coming two years.

Over the period to 2024, the fertility rate is expected to climb back to 1.69 as the majority of women who delayed having their first or next baby resume their plans.

The fertility rate will then return to its longer-term level of 1.62 from 2030 as the deferral trend normalises.

The report concludes that families are likely to defer having their first, or next, baby in the current economic climate.

It also states that history has shown fertility tends to decline in periods of economic uncertainty, with the impact of COVID-19 now being felt across the economy.

Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said the figures paint a picture of Australia’s population composition on the other side of COVID‑19.

“Our population growth will be the lowest since WW1 as a result of COVID,” Mr Tudge said.

“Stopping migration has been the main contributor to this but the fertility rate has also dropped which tends to happen in times of economic uncertainty. These projections outlined in this report will inform our population planning into the future at both a federal and state level.”

The full report is available at https://population.gov.au/downloads/McDonaldFertilityProjections.pdf.

Total fertility rates by jurisdiction, ‘likely COVID’ scenario, 2018 to 2032

    Year        AUS        NSW        VIC        QLD         SA          WA         TAS         NT         ACT
    2018        1.70        1.71        1.62        1.75        1.66        1.79        1.73        1.84        1.56
    2019        1.69        1.71        1.61        1.74        1.66        1.79        1.72        1.84        1.56
    2020        1.65        1.66        1.57        1.70        1.61        1.74        1.68        1.79        1.52
    2021        1.59        1.61        1.52        1.64        1.56        1.68        1.62        1.72        1.47
    2022        1.61        1.63        1.54        1.66        1.58        1.71        1.65        1.76        1.49
    2023        1.67        1.69        1.59        1.72        1.64        1.77        1.71        1.82        1.54
    2024        1.69        1.70        1.61        1.74        1.66        1.79        1.73        1.84        1.55
    2025        1.68        1.70        1.60        1.73        1.65        1.78        1.72        1.83        1.55
    2026        1.67        1.68        1.59        1.72        1.63        1.76        1.70        1.81        1.54
    2027        1.65        1.67        1.58        1.70        1.62        1.75        1.69        1.79        1.52
    2028        1.64        1.65        1.56        1.69        1.61        1.73        1.67        1.78        1.51
    2029        1.63        1.64        1.55        1.68        1.60        1.72        1.66        1.77        1.50
    2030        1.62        1.64        1.55        1.67        1.59        1.72        1.66        1.76        1.50
    2031        1.62        1.64        1.54        1.67        1.59        1.71        1.65        1.75        1.49
    2032        1.62        1.63        1.54        1.66        1.58        1.71        1.65        1.75        1.49

Source: McDonald, P., 2020. A Projection of Australia’s Future Fertility Rate

Media Contact:

Minister Tudge – Michael Bennett 0434 782 923