Using published data from the Australian vital registration and census systems, several time series are compiled: crude birth rates from the 1860s; fertility rates from the 1880s; age-specific and parity-specific measures from the 191Os; cumulative fertility measures by birth year of parent beginning with the 1890s; and cumulative fertility measures for marriages by year contracted from the 1910s.The decline in fertility to the 1930s, the upswing to 1961, and declines thereafter revealed by annual fertility measures show far more variation than do measures of total generation fertility—2.7 children per woman born in 1893–95, 2.3 1906–10, 2.8 1921–25, and perhaps 3.0 for women born in the 1930s. Both annual and generation measures show a younger age at parenthood, a decrease in childlessness, and progressively fewer large families. In the light of present experience, it seems not unreasonable to project generation fertility of 2.5 children, implying a crude birth rate of about 20 per thousand for the next fifteen years or so.

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