EXCLUSIVE: Where are our babies being born?
Our population may be growing, but the number of babies being born in our area is mostly on the decrease.
According to statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the yearly decrease number of babies born in 2019 is down three per cent nationally, and in our local areas, the biggest decreases are being shown in our most populated areas.
The Daily Examiner has compiled a list of all the localities within the North Coast and Northern Rivers area to find out just where our babies were born in 2019.
In the Clarence Valley, there was a drop of around 59 babies born in the area, with double digit drops in the outer Grafton areas, and in the Lower Clarence.
The highest overall fall in birthrates was on the Tweed, with Murwillumbah having more than 50 babies less than last year, with areas such as Tweed Heads and Banora Point also having more than 20 less children.
Areas such as Brunswick Heads, Byron and Bangalow also had decreases of nearly 20 children for the year.
In the Coffs Harbour region, it is the south of Coffs Harbour where a fall of 25 babies occurred.
However, while the numbers fell year on year, across the area there is growth when the figures are looked at over five years.
Ballina's figures for 2019 are 50 higher than in 2014, and other large increases in a five-year period occurred in Murwillumbah, Woolgoolga and Korora.
Despite the fluctuation in the number of births, because of the changing demographic and population of many areas, the birthrate has stayed relatively stable in one year and five year comparisons.
In 2019, the highest birthrate in the Northern Rivers belonged to hinterland areas such as Kyogle, where the birthrate is 3.0 children per woman, Bellingen at 2.63 and the outer Grafton region at 2.63.
However, in a sign that the regions are the place to bring up your children rings true, with all areas listed except one above the national birthrate of 1.66.
That area is Byron Bay, who bottom out the birthrate statistics with each woman having 1.35 babies on average. i
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were 305,832 births in 2019, decreasing by 3.0 per cent (or 9,315 births) from 2018
51.5 per cent were males, resulting in a sex ratio at birth of 106.1 male births per 100 female births and 64.4 per cent were to parents in a registered marriage.
The bureau calculates that the replacement rate is around 2.1 births per woman, however Australia has been below that level since 1976.
In 2019, the fertility rate was 1.66 babies per woman in 2019, decreasing from 1.97 babies per woman since 2009.
These figures predate the COVID epidemic, and while many people have jokingly predicted a baby boom from the lockdowns, experts say that these figures show that economic concerns have reduced the birthrate over time.