Geography

Where mothers live, and where they gave birth, can impact on their access to services. The distribution of mothers who gave birth across the states and territories generally followed the distribution of the Australian population, with the largest proportion and number of mothers in New South Wales.

The below graph presents data by state or territory of birth, with the exception of the topics remoteness and socioeconomic status, which are based on state of the mother’s usual residence.

Understanding different patterns between states and territories is important for planning health service delivery. For example, the following groups were overrepresented as a proportion of women who gave birth:

  • teenage mothers (aged under 20) in the Northern Territory and Tasmania 
  • older mothers (aged 40 or more) in New South Wales and Victoria
  • Indigenous mothers in the Northern Territory.

Factors such as the socioeconomic status and remoteness of the area in which the mother lives, can also be explored. Most mothers lived in Major cities and gave birth in their state or territory of usual residence. Relative to their contribution to all women who gave birth:

  • Tasmanian mothers were more likely to live in the lowest socioeconomic areas
  • mothers in the Australian Capital Territory were more likely to live in the highest socioeconomic areas
  • mothers in the Northern Territory and Western Australia were more likely to live in Remote and Very remote areas
  • mothers in New South Wales and Victoria were more likely to live in Major cities.