Baby-making back in style
MAKING babies is back in fashion, and Northern Rivers parents are no exception.
The latest birth figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show several regions on the North Coast have a higher fertility rate than the State average, well ahead of places like inner-city Sydney.
There were 2.38 births per woman in the Kyogle local government area in the census period of 2005-2008, up from 2.11 births per woman in the previous census period.
The Richmond Valley had the next highest fertility rate on the Northern Rivers, with 2.23 births, up from 1.92 births in 2005.
The Ballina council region was also above the State average when it came to making babies, with a fertility rate of 1.91 in 2008.
Parents in Lismore were in close step with the rest of the State with 1.84 babies, just .01 percentage points behind the rest of New South Wales.
Byron was the only local government area to be considerably behind the State average, with 1.69 births.
Vicki Thornton is one mum who has embraced a national trend toward more children.
The Alstonville mother of five has just brought home her newest edition to the family: 11-day-old Darcy.
With an acreage property and plenty of extended family around to help, Mrs Thornton said living on the Northern Rivers had definitely influenced her decision to have a larger family.
“Family seems to be a priority for people here,” she said.
“It’s such a relaxed area – it’s so friendly and supportive. There is a gorgeous network of people here.”
Mrs Thornton moved to Alstonville 11 years ago with her husband Andrew and oldest daughter Tori.
Since then, the Thorntons have had four more children, though Mrs Thornton thinks five will be enough.
And while there are more births than the average on much of the North Coast, it will take plenty more parents like Vicki and Andrew Thornton for the region to catch up with the Urana local government area in the State’s Riverina district.
The 1500-person shire saw 3.27 births in the 2005-2008 period.
This rate is even higher than the post-World War II baby boom, where the birth rate peaked at 3.5 births in 1961.
While not expected to repeat the flurry of baby-making activity of the post-war years, the national fertility rate has been gently increasing since 2002.
After hitting an all-time low in 2001 of 1.7, the national fertility rate is now at 1.97 births, and is expected to continue at that rate for some time to come.
In 2008, Australian mums and dads had more babies than any other calendar year, with 296,600 babies born.