The Contribution of Recent Increases to Family Benefits to Australia’s Early 21st Century Fertility Increase: An Empirical Analysis

Nick Parr, Macquarie University
Ross Guest, Griffith University

Following forty years of almost continual decrease, between 2001 and 2007 Australia’s TFR increased from 1.73 to 1.93. This increase has overlapped with a series of changes to family-related benefits which were designed primarily to provide financial assistance to families. However a pronatalist intent was also apparent. Of the changes, the most significant was the introduction in 2004 of a universal, flat-rate payment to parents of new-born children. This paper analyses recent fertility patterns in Australia, using data from a large-scale household longitudinal survey. The main research questions are: 1) What effect has the “Baby Bonus” had on the level of fertility? 2) How does the effect vary between population subgroups? 3) Which other variables have affected fertility? Preliminary results show the effect of the new ‘Baby Bonus’ has been, if anything, to raise fertility slightly. Parity, marital status and a woman’s highest education are other significant factors.

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Presented in Session 152: Effects of Government Policies and Incentives on Fertility and Reproductive Health