Chapter 1 Introduction to NSW children

Key statistics at a glance

At the 2011 Census of Population and Housing:

  • There were 1,600,840 children aged 0–17 years[1] living in NSW in 2011, representing 23.1 per cent of the NSW population.
    • 58.4 per cent of these children lived in Sydney.
    • The areas with the highest proportion of children are Riverina (25.6%), followed by the Far West and Orana (25.4%).
    • Within Sydney, the areas with the greatest proportion of children are Blacktown (28.1%), Outer South West Sydney (27.4%), and South West Sydney (26.5%).

Population growth

  • The population of children in NSW grew by 2.0 per cent between 2006 and 2011.
    • Child population numbers in Sydney grew by 4.0% overall.  Within Sydney, Central Western Sydney (9.4%), the Eastern Suburbs (9.2%) and the Northern Beaches (9.0%) experienced the greatest growth.
    • The population of children in most areas outside of Sydney declined over the same period. The Far West (-10.4%) and the Murray (-5.3%) experienced the greatest decline.
  • The proportion of children within the total NSW population decreased between 2006 and 2011 (24.0% to 23.1%).
  • By 2056 the proportion of children in the NSW population is estimated to be 19.3 per cent.

Births

  • In 2011 there were 99,054 births in NSW, an increase of 3,136 births from 2010.
    • The number of births increased between 2010 and 2011 in most areas of NSW, with the greatest relative increases recorded in North Western NSW (11.9%), the Hunter (9.9%) and the Mid-North Coast (8.5%).  The number of births decreased in the Murray (-4.0%) and South Eastern NSW (-0.5%).
    • Within Sydney, the greatest increase was in Blacktown (9.1%) and Central Northern Sydney (7.9%).  The greatest decrease was in the Central North Sydney (-4.5%), followed by the Eastern Suburbs (-4.1%).
  • Over the period 2006–2011 the median maternal age remained stable at 31.0 years.
    • In 2011, Far Western NSW had the lowest median maternal age (27.4 years) and Sydney had the highest (31.6 years).

The children of NSW

The Australian Census of Population and Housing provides the best source of data about the number of children in NSW and where they live. The last census was conducted in 2011 with the next census is planned for 2016.

In 2011, there were 6.9 million people in NSW, and 1,600,840 of these were aged 0-17 years (23.1%) (Table A1.1) (XLSX 228.9KB).  There were slightly more male children (51.4%) than females (48.6%), with some variation by age (Table A1.1) (XLSX 228.9KB).

By age, 5.6 per cent of children were infants (aged less than one year), 44.9 per cent were in their early childhood years (1–8 year olds), 32.7 per cent were in middle childhood (9–14 year olds) and 16.8 per cent were teenagers (15–17 year olds) (Figure 1.1) (Table A1.1) (XLSX 228.9KB).

Figure 1.1: Proportion of children by single year aged 0–17, NSW, 2011

Source: NSW Commission for Children and Young People calculations based on ABS 2011 Census of Population and Housing (Table A1.1) (XLSX 228.9KB).

Geographic distribution

In 2011, the majority of children in NSW lived in Sydney (58.4 %). The areas[2] with the next highest share of NSW children were Newcastle and Lake Macquarie (4.7%) followed by the Central Coast (4.6%) (Figure 1.2) (Table A1.2) (XLSX 228.9KB).

Figure 1.2: Proportion of NSW children aged 0–17 years by area[3], NSW, 2011

 

Source: NSW Commission for Children and Young People calculations based on ABS 2011 Census of Population and Housing (Table A1.2) (XLSX 228.9KB).

Within the Sydney area, the greatest number of children lived in Inner South West (13.0%), South West (10.2%) and Parramatta (9.9%). The smallest number lived in the City and Inner South Sydney (3.4%) (Figure 1.3) (Table A1.3) (XLSX 228.9KB).

 Figure 1.3: Proportion of Sydney children aged 0–17 years by area[4], Sydney, 2011

Source: NSW Commission for Children and Young People calculations based on ABS 2011 Census of Population and Housing (Table A1.3) (XLSX 228.9KB).

Outside of Sydney, the area with the largest share of children in the local population is Riverina (25.6%), followed by the Far West and Orana (25.4%), Central West NSW (25.2%) and the Hunter Valley (excluding Newcastle) (25.2%) (Table A1.2) (XLSX 228.9KB) (Figure 1.4).

Figure 1.4: Children aged 0–17 years as a proportion of area population[5], NSW, 2011

Source: NSW Commission for Children and Young People calculations based on ABS 2011 Census of Population and Housing (Table A1.2) (XLSX 228.9KB).

Children make up 22.9 per cent of the total population of Sydney. The area with the greatest share of children is Blacktown (28.1%), followed by Outer South West Sydney (27.4%) and South West Sydney (26.5%) (Figure 1.5) (Table A1.3) (XLSX 228.9KB).

 Figure 1.5: Children aged 0–17 years as a proportion of area population[6], Sydney, 2011

Source: NSW Commission for Children and Young People calculations based on ABS 2011 Census of Population and Housing (Table A1.3) (XLSX 228.9KB).

Population growth

Population growth and projections

Overall, there has been an increase of 2.0 per cent in the number of children in NSW between the 2006 census and 2011 census (Table A1.6) (XLSX 228.9KB).

Child population growth varied considerably among geographic areas. Sydney, as a whole, experienced growth in numbers of children (4.0%), as did the Hunter area (1.0%).  Most areas outside of Sydney experienced a decline in numbers of children over the same period.  The greatest decline was in the Far West (-10.4%) followed by the Murray area (-5.3%) (Figure 1.6) (Table A1.7) (XLSX 228.9KB).

Figure 1.6: Change in numbers of children aged 0–17 year olds by Statistical Division, NSW, 2006–2011

Note: Cells may have been confidentialised and total may be slightly different between tables. 2011 census geography is approximated by the ABS using SA1’s from the ASGS.

Source: NSW Commission for Children and Young People calculations based on ABS 2006 and 2011 Census of Population and Housing (Table A1.7) (XLSX 228.9KB).

Within the Sydney area, the highest growth in numbers of children was in Central Western Sydney (9.4%), the Eastern Suburbs (9.2%) and the Northern Beaches (9.0%). There was a decline in the number of children in Outer Western Sydney (-2.9%) and Outer South Western Sydney (-1.7%) (Figure 1.7) (Table A1.8) (XLSX 228.9KB).

Figure 1.7: Change in numbers of children aged 0–17 year olds by Sydney Statistical Subdivision, 2006–2011

Note: Census geography is approximated by the ABS using SA1s from the ASGS.

Source: NSW Commission for Children and Young People calculations based on ABS 2006 and 2011 Census of Population and Housing (Table A1.8) (XLSX 228.9KB).

While the total number of children in NSW increased between the 2006 and 2011 censuses, the proportion of children in the NSW population fell over this period (from 24.0% to 23.1%). ABS population projections estimate the number of children in NSW to be 1,970,117 in 2056, an increase of 23.1 per cent from 2011. The total population of NSW is projected to be 10,210,214 in 2056, an increase of 47.6 per cent from 2011 (Table A1.9) (XLSX 228.9KB).[7] Because the rate of growth of numbers of children is projected to be less than the rate of growth of the NSW population as a whole, the proportion of children in the population is expected to decrease to 19.3 per cent in 2056. The NSW population is ageing.

Births

Data on births is reported by the ABS, sourced from data collected by the Registrars of Births, Deaths and Marriages in all states and territories[8].

The overall fertility rate in NSW has increased from 1.79 in 2006 to 1.91 in 2011 (Table A1.10) (XLSX 228.9KB).

In 2011, there were 99,054 births in NSW, an increase of 3,136 births (3.3%) from 2010. This follows similar annual increases in the number of births since 2007, though a small decline occurred between 2008 and 2009 (Figure 1.8) (Table A1.11) (XLSX 228.9KB).

Figure 1.8: Number of live births, NSW, 1999–2011

Notes: Number of births is collected at time of registration of birth. A birth is the delivery of a child, irrespective of the duration of pregnancy, who, after being born, breathes or shows any evidence of life such as heartbeat. Total NSW includes births where usual residence was recorded as overseas, no fixed abode, offshore and migratory and ‘New South Wales undefined’. The year refers to the year that the birth was registered.

Source: ABS, Births, Australia, 2011. Cat. no. 3301.0.(Table A1.11) (XLSX 228.9KB)

Over the period the period 2010–2011, most areas in NSW experienced an increase in births.  North Western NSW (11.9%), Hunter (9.9%) and the Mid-North Coast (8.5%) saw the greatest increase (Figure 1.9) (Table A1.12) (XLSX 228.9KB). A decrease in births was recorded in the Murray region (-4.0%) and South Eastern NSW (-0.5%).

Figure 1.9: Percentage change in birth numbers between 2010 and 2011, by Statistical Divisions, NSW, 2010–2011

Notes: Number of births is collected at time of registration of birth. A birth is the delivery of a child, irrespective of the duration of pregnancy, who, after being born, breathes or shows any evidence of life such as heartbeat. Total NSW includes births where usual residence was recorded as overseas, no fixed abode, offshore and migratory and ‘New South Wales undefined’. The year refers to the year that the birth was registered.

Source: Commission for Children and Young People Calculations based on ABS 2012, Births, Australia, 2011. Cat. no. 3301.0. (Table A1.12) (XLSX 228.9KB).

Within Sydney, the greatest increase in birth numbers between 2010 and 2011 was in Blacktown (9.1%), followed by the Central Coast (7.9%)[9].  The greatest decrease was recorded in Central North Sydney (-4.5%), followed by the Eastern Suburbs (-4.1%) (Figure 1.10) (Table A1.12) (XLSX 228.9KB).

Figure 1.10: Percentage change in birth numbers between 2010 and 2011 for Sydney Statistical Subdivision, NSW, 2010–2011

Notes: Number of births is collected at time of registration of birth. A birth is the delivery of a child, irrespective of the duration of pregnancy, who, after being born, breathes or shows any evidence of life such as heartbeat. Total NSW includes births where usual residence was recorded as overseas, no fixed abode, offshore and migratory and ‘New South Wales undefined’. The year refers to the year that the birth was registered.

Source: Commission for Children and Young People Calculations based on ABS 2012, Births, Australia, 2011. Cat. no. 3301.0. (Table A1.12) (XLSX 228.9KB)

The median maternal age has remained relatively stable at 31.0 years over the period 2006–2011. In 2011, Far Western NSW had the lowest median maternal age (27.4 years) and Sydney had the highest (31.6 years) (Table A1.13) (XLSX 228.9KB).

On 1 January 2011, the Australian Government started the national Paid Parental Leave scheme. It gives eligible working parents 18 weeks of parental leave pay at the national minimum wage. Among many reasons for this policy strategy is supporting the growth of Australia's population.

Source: http://www.familyassist.gov.au/payments/family-assistance-payments/paid-parental-leave-scheme/

References

ABS. (2011). Census for Population and Housing, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra.

ABS. (2000). Population Projections, Australia, Cat. no. 3222.0, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra.

ABS. (2009). Births, Australia 2008, Cat. no. 3301.0, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra.

ABS. (2010). Births, Australia 2009, Cat. no. 3301.0, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra.

ABS. (2010). Customised Report, 2010, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra.

ABS. (2011). Births, Australia 2009, Cat. no. 3301.0, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra.

Drago, R, Sawyer, K, Sheffler, K, Warren, D and Wooden, M. (2009). Did Australia's baby bonus increase the fertility rate? Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research Working Paper Series No. 1/09, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, Melbourne.

Lain, S.J., Ford, J.B., Raynes-Greenow, C.H., Hadfield, R.M., Simpson, J.M., Morris, J.M. and Roberts, C.L. (2009). The impact of the Baby Bonus payment in New South Wales: who is having 'one for the country'? Medical Journal of Australia, 190 (5): 238-241.

[1]Unless otherwise stated children refers to all those aged 0–17 years old inclusive.
[2]‘Area’ refers to Statistical Area 4 (SA4) regions, which are the largest sub-State regions in the Australian Statistical Geographical Standard (ASGS). The Glossary contains further information.
[3]As above
[4]Area’ refers to Statistical Area 4 (SA4) regions, which are the largest sub-State regions in the Australian Statistical Geographical Standard (ASGS).  The ASGS is the new standard for statistical geography, which will eventually replace the units of Statistical Division and Statistical Subdivision from the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC). The Glossary contains further information.
[5]Area’ refers to Statistical Area 4 (SA4) regions, which are the largest sub-State regions in the Australian Statistical Geographical Standard (ASGS).  The ASGS is the new standard for statistical geography, which will eventually replace the units of Statistical Division and Statistical Subdivision from the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC). The Glossary contains further information.
[6]Area’ refers to Statistical Area 4 (SA4) regions, which are the largest sub-State regions in the Australian Statistical Geographical Standard (ASGS).  The ASGS is the new standard for statistical geography, which will eventually replace the units of Statistical Division and Statistical Subdivision from the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC). The Glossary contains further information.
[7] ABS population projections are based on assumed future levels of fertility, mortality, and net migration from overseas and interstate. The projections are not predictions or forecasts, but show population growth and change that would occur if the assumptions were to prevail over the projection period. More information about estimates and projections is in Appendix 1: Key survey sources and data reports.
[8] The data are based on information that parent(s) give on a registration form for their child. It is compulsory for parents to register a birth within 60 days, under all state and territory legislation. There is often an interval between the birth and its registration (known as a registration 'lag'), which may be longer than 60 days. These delays can affect the quality of fertility rates: underestimates when birth registrations are delayed, and overestimate when these births are later registered.
[9]On 1 July 2008 the Statistical Subdivision of Gosford–Wyong was renamed the Central Coast.