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Projecting the decline in fertility

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Bruce R Bacon
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Conference Paper 2000/2

Paper presented at Workshop on Declining Fertility in Australia: Policy and Research Issues, Australian Institute of Family Studies, Melbourne, 30 May 2000.

Due to a rapid decline in birth rates along with the ageing of the "baby boom" cohort, Australia will experience a largely unavoidable ageing of the population over the next half century. This paper explores the strategy used to by RIM to construct detailed fertility projections.

Single year of age fertility projections aggregates to a total fertility rate at 1.56 by 2051. The extra rigour of the analysis, with the imposed consistency and the use of more information, gives more confidence in the plausibility of the projections than simple aggregate extrapolation.

Casual inspection of the data makes it clear that much of the observed trend in fertility is driven by the increasing age at which women are having their first child, the fact that the number of women having 3 or more children is falling and the rising number of childless women.