Experts say women in Australia need to have 2.1 babies each to keep our population growing.
Experts say women in Australia need to have 2.1 babies each to keep our population growing. RealCreation/iStock

Oh baby! Are we letting population growth down?

BYRON Bay, Lismore and Ballina women are struggling to do their bit to keep Australia's population booming.

While our birthrate has fallen across the Northern Rivers, local mothers are having more babies than their capital city counterparts.

Analysis of national fertility data reveals 4648 infants were born here in the three years to the end of 2015.

Demographers say to ensure there is a person to replace the mother and father and to grow Australia's population, each couple should have 2.1 children.

Richmond Valley and Kyogle are above this with birthrates of 2.5 and 2.4 respectively.

Ballina and Lismore are below it with both centres on two babies per woman.

Byron has the lowest birthrate in the Northern Rivers with 1.9 but it is slightly ahead of the Sydney average of 1.8 babies for each adult female.

The state and national averages are 1.9.

Australian Population Association president Ann Evans said migrant numbers, age and the education, employment, housing and income status of residents impacted birthrates.

"The fertility rate is higher in regional areas because the type of people who live in those areas are more disposed to have kids,” the Australian National University School of Demography associate professor said.

"The age structure can have a major impact - for example if there are lots of older people the birthrate will be low.

"Capital cities also have higher levels of migrants who often have less children than those born in Australia.

Northern NSW Local Health District acting chief executive Lynne Weir said the organisation undertook regular planning to ensure it was meeting local demand for maternity services.

"These planning processes take into account population growth, birth and fertility rates and the needs of women, children, families and specific communities,” she said. - NewsRegional

Demographers say to ensure there is a person to replace mother and father and to grow Australia's population, each couple should have 2.1 children.
Demographers say to ensure there is a person to replace mother and father and to grow Australia's population, each couple should have 2.1 children. Halfpoint/iStock

HOW WE COMPARE

REGION, BIRTHS 2013-15, BIRTHRATE

Ballina, 1133, 2.0

Byron, 1021, 1.9

Clarence Valley 1452, 2.1

Coffs Harbour, 2400, 2.1

Kyogle, 265, 2.4

Lismore, 1412, 2.0

Richmond Valley 817, 2.5

Sydney, 197,221, 1.8

New South Wales 291,615, 1.9

AUSTRALIA, 913,139, 1.9

Source: PHIDU Social Health Atlas of Australia