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What do we know about Indigenous births?

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In 2013, there were 18,368 births registered in Australia where one or both parents were Indigenous (six in every 100 births) [1]. Overall, Indigenous women had more children and had them at younger ages than non-Indigenous women.

Indigenous women had, on average, 2.3 births in their lifetime (compared with 1.9 births for all Australian women) [1]. Nearly three-quarters of Indigenous mothers were 30 years or younger when they had their babies, compared with less than one-half of non-Indigenous mothers (Derived from [1]). Around 18 in 100 Indigenous mothers were teenagers, compared with 3 in 100 for non-Indigenous mothers.

In 2012, babies born to Indigenous mothers weighed an average of 3,211 grams, 162 grams less than those born to non-Indigenous mothers [2]. Babies born to Indigenous mothers were almost twice as likely to be of low birthweight (less than 2,500 grams) than babies born to non-Indigenous mothers. Low birthweight can increase the risk of a child developing health problems.


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2014) Births, Australia, 2013: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander births and fertility. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics
  2. Li Z, Zeki R, Hilder L, Sullivan EA (2013) Australia's mothers and babies 2011. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
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