Source: The Mercury, 9 January, 1997, p.5

Big rise in

MORE babies are being born
out of wedlock in Australia.

   First-time mothers also are
on average five years older
than their own mothers when
they had their first child.

   More than 68,000 babies,
26.6% of total births in
Australia, were born out of
wedlock in 1995 compared
with more than 38,000 babies
born 10 years earlier,
representing 15.5% of total

   An annual survey of births in
Australia, released yesterday
by the Australian Bureau of
Statistics, traces the impact of
the contraceptive pill, the
increasing participation of
women in education and the
workforce and the falling
popularity of marriage.

   Until 1960, nearly 95% of
all births in Australia were
within marriage. The number
of births outside marriage has
increased overall by 70% since

   The Bureau said the
appearance in Australia in
1961 of the contraceptive pill
led to a divergence of birth
patterns within and outside

   Initially, the pill was used
almost exclusively by married
women. Between 1961 and
1971 the number of births
outside marriage doubled while
births within wedlock began
to fall.

   The increasing number of de-
facto relationships, evident by
the late 1970s, saw the rate of
births outside wedlock increase

   The Northern Territory had
the highest rate of births
outside of marriage with
57.2%, followed by Tasmania
on 33.3%. The lowest rate in
1995 was in Victoria with

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