The fertility rate in Australia, like almost all Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (oecd) countries, is below the level required for population replacement. This has resulted in an increasingly active debate surrounding possible reasons behind the fall, future likely trends and realistic strategies to stem it.
This paper provides an overview of trends in fertility in Australia and the potential implications of these trends. The various explanations that have been provided for fertility trends and key family policies are discussed.
A number of explanations for the decline in fertility in developed countries have been proposed, yet the topic remains hotly debated. There is growing evidence that a range of factors are related to fertility rates, although there does remain uncertainty as to which factors are most important in explaining the falls. While studies have produced differing results, there does seem to be growing evidence that social and economic policies do have an important role in stemming the declines in fertility rates.
The link between the level of public financial support and fertility rates for oecd countries are discussed. Government support to families with children as a proportion of gdp has increased rapidly in Australia over the last 25 years, with the level having gone from being at the lower end for oecd countries to being well above the average.
SOURCE: Gray, M. Qu, L. and Weston, R. “Fertility and family policy in Australia.” Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2008.
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