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Canadian women gave birth to 367,864 babies in Canada in 2007, up 13,247 or 3.7% from 2006 and the fastest annual increase since 1989.The number of births rose in all age groups, particularly among mothers aged 30 to 34, and in every province and territory, except Prince Edward Island and Yukon.
The total fertility rate, or the average number of children per woman, increased from 1.59 in 2006 to 1.66 in 2007.
While this was the highest total fertility rate since 1992, it remained well below replacement level of 2.1 children per woman. This is the fertility rate that must be maintained to replace the population in the absence of migration.
This upward trend is not unique to Canada. In recent years, other countries with low fertility rates (such as Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and Australia) also experienced an increase in their total fertility rate.
The number of babies born in 2007 was the highest since 1995 and the fifth consecutive annual increase.
Women aged 30 and over having more children
Women aged 30 and over were the main contributors to the increase in births. In 2007, they were responsible for 56% of the increase in births.
In 2007, 115,415 babies were born to women aged 30 to 34, the highest number of all age groups and up 3.7% from 2006.
During the previous 10 years, there was an important shift in the age structure of fertility. In 1997, the age-specific fertility rate was highest among women aged 25 to 29. (The age-specific fertility rate is the number of births per woman within a specific age group.) In 2006, the highest fertility rate shifted from that age group to women aged 30 to 34.
In 2007, the gap between the two age groups widened, as the fertility rate of women aged 30 to 34 was higher than the rate for those aged 25 to 29 for a second consecutive year.
The fertility rates of women aged 30 and over increased in the previous 10 years, while rates of younger women decreased.
Geographic differences: Four provinces account for four-fifths of increase
In 2007, four provinces (Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia) accounted for 83% of the total increase in births.
Women in Alberta gave birth to 49,028 babies in 2007, up 8.4% from the previous year. Alberta accounted for almost 30% of the total national increase in births. Ontario accounted for 21% of the national increase, Quebec 18% and British Columbia, 14%.
The total fertility rate increased in all provinces and territories except the Yukon between 2006 and 2007. Nationally, Nunavut had the highest fertility in the country, 2.97 children per women. Among the provinces, Saskatchewan women had the highest total fertility rate, 2.03.
In contrast, Newfoundland and Labrador had the lowest fertility rate, 1.46.
Among women aged 30 to 34, the fertility rate was highest in Alberta. Among the provinces, Ontario had the highest fertility rate for women aged 35 to 39 and British Columbia for women aged 40 to 49.
Available on CANSIM: tables 102-4501 to 102-4516.
The 2007 issue of Births (84F0210X, free) is now available from the Publications module of our website.
For more information, contact Client Services (613-951-1746; fax: 613-951-4198; hd-ds[at]statcan.gc.ca), Health Statistics Division. To enquire about the concepts, methods and data quality of this release, contact Shiang Ying Dai (613-951-1759) or Patricia Schembari (613-951-9502), Health Statistics Division.
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