Volume 43 - Article 40 | Pages 1185–1198 Author has provided data and code for replicating results

The geographical patterns of birth seasonality in Australia

By Tom Wilson, Peter McDonald, Jeromey Temple

Print this page  Facebook  Twitter

 

 
Date received:03 Mar 2020
Date published:04 Nov 2020
Word count:2624
Keywords:Australia, births, climate, fertility, regions, seasonality, spatial demography
DOI:10.4054/DemRes.2020.43.40
Additional files:readme.43-40 (text file, 1 kB)
 demographic-research.43-40 (zip file, 4 kB)
 

Abstract

Background: Studies have shown how births exhibit seasonal patterns, with peaks and troughs in particular months and seasons. Most of this literature focuses on national-level patterns mainly in countries of the northern hemisphere.

Objective: The aim of the paper is to describe key features of contemporary birth seasonality at a subnational scale across Australia.

Methods: Data on births across the year by region for the 2001‒2016 period were acquired from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. A Births Index was calculated to standardise for length of month and variations in birth numbers between regions. Choropleth maps and graphs were used to illustrate the geographical patterns.

Results: Birth seasonality across Australia’s regions is moderate but the patterns vary in a strongly clustered way. In northern and central latitudes of Australia, births are above-average early in the year (February to April), while in the southeast of the country they tend to be above-average in September and October.

Conclusions: The Australian results are consistent with physiological hypotheses that climate and environmental influences have a role in the seasonality of births. Hot and humid summers in northern Australia, and cold winters in the southernmost parts of the country, might be responsible for reducing the number of conceptions below their regional averages for the year.

Contribution: We demonstrate how birth seasonality across the regions of Australia has a strong climatic pattern that is consistent with physiological hypotheses.

Author's Affiliation

Tom Wilson - University of Melbourne, Australia [Email]
Peter McDonald - University of Melbourne, Australia [Email]
Jeromey Temple - University of Melbourne, Australia [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» Subnational population forecasts: Do users want to know about uncertainty?
Volume 41 - Article 13

» Visualising the demographic factors which shape population age structure
Volume 35 - Article 29

» An assessment of recent Iranian fertility trends using parity progression ratios
Volume 32 - Article 58

» What happens after you drop out? Transition to adulthood among early school-leavers in urban Indonesia
Volume 30 - Article 41

» Societal foundations for explaining fertility: Gender equity
Volume 28 - Article 34

» The sequential propensity household projection model
Volume 28 - Article 24

» Model migration schedules incorporating student migration peaks
Volume 23 - Article 8

» Australia's uncertain demographic future
Volume 11 - Article 8

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

» Transitions to partnership and parenthood: Is China still traditional?
Volume 43 - Article 6    | Keywords: births, fertility

» Infertility and fertility intentions, desires, and outcomes among US women
Volume 35 - Article 39    | Keywords: births, fertility

» The contribution of increases in family benefits to Australia’s early 21st-century fertility increase: An empirical analysis
Volume 25 - Article 6    | Keywords: Australia, fertility

» Satisfaction with life as an antecedent of fertility: Partner + Happiness = Children?
Volume 22 - Article 21    | Keywords: Australia, fertility

» Longevity and month of birth: Evidence from Austria and Denmark
Volume 1 - Article 3    | Keywords: births, seasonality