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 where a mother gave birth, with the exception of the topics remoteness and socioeconomic status, which are based on state of the mother’s usual residence.

The figure shows a bar chart for state and territory of birth or state and territory of mother’s usual residence by a range of topics for 2019 and a line graph for topic trends between 2009 and 2019. In 2019, 231,442 women gave birth in New South Wales, Victoria or Queensland.

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 (mothers from the Northern Territory accounted for 1.2% of mothers overall compared with 3.7% of teenage mothers and Tasmanian mothers accounted for 1.9% of mothers overall compared with 3.0% of teenage mothers)  
  • older mothers (aged 40 or more) in New South Wales and Victoria (mothers from New South Wales accounted for 31% of mothers overall compared with 33% of older mothers and Victorian mothers accounted for 26% of mothers overall and 29% of older mothers)
  • Indigenous mothers in the Northern Territory (mothers from the Northern Territory accounted for 1.2% of mothers overall compared with 8.4% of Indigenous mothers).

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 (Tasmanian mothers accounted for 1.9% of mothers overall and 4.5% of mothers in the lowest socioeconomic areas)
  • mothers in the Australian Capital Territory were more likely to live in the highest socioeconomic areas (mothers from the Australian Capital Territory accounted for 1.8% of mothers overall and 6.1% of mothers 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 form the Northern Territory accounted for 1.2% of mothers overall, 17.5% of mothers in Remote areas and 27.7% of mothers in Very remote areas and Western Australian mothers accounted for 11% of mothers overall, 33% of mothers in Remote areas and 32% of mothers in Very remote areas).

The figure shows a map of Australia with the distribution of mothers by state and territory of the mother’s usual residence, Primary Health Network, remoteness area or Statistical Area Level 3 for 2019.

For information on births by state and territory see National Perinatal Data Collection annual update data table 1.1.