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Births and stillbirths, 2014

Released: 2017-10-19

In 2014, there were 384,100 live births in Canada, up from 380,323 in 2013. This represented the highest annual number of live births since 1994 when 385,114 live births were registered. Of the live births in 2014, boys accounted for a slight majority at 51.2%, while girls made up the other 48.8%.

Despite the increase, the total fertility rate (TFR) for 2014 was 1,582 births per 1,000 women, down compared to recent years. The TFR in Canada has shown a general decline since 2008, when it was 1,681 births per 1,000 women. As such, the 2014 TFR is closer to the low-fertility assumption of Statistics Canada's latest set of population projections. According to these projections, immigration will be the primary factor of demographic growth in Canada in the future, and natural increase (the difference between the number of births and deaths) will become negative in 2033. See the document Population Projections for Canada (2013 to 2063), Provinces and Territories (2013 to 2038) for more information.

The TFR is an estimate of the average number of live births that a thousand women would have in their lifetime, based on the age-specific fertility rates of a given year. Taking mortality between birth and 15 years into consideration, developed countries such as Canada need an average of around 2,060 children per 1,000 females to renew their population based on natural increase and without accounting for immigration. The last year in which Canada attained fertility levels that were sufficient to replace its current population was 1971.

While the TFR is a good indicator of fertility in Canada as a whole, this national average can hide major provincial and territorial differences. From 2000 to 2014, Nunavut was the only province or territory to consistently have fertility levels above the replacement rate, ranging from 2,736 births per 1,000 women in 2005, to 3,243 in 2009. With the exception of the Prairie provinces and the Northwest Territories (1,866 births per 1,000 women in 2014), every other province and territory had a TFR during this period that rarely exceeded 1,700 births per 1,000 women. Among the Prairie provinces, Saskatchewan had the highest rate at 1,999 births per 1,000 women, followed by Manitoba (1,888), and Alberta (1,741).

On average, Canadian mothers are older now when they give birth than they were two decades ago. In 1994, the average age of a Canadian mother giving birth was 28.1 years. By 2014, it had increased to 30.1 years. The average age of mothers has increased in every province and territory over this period, exceeding 30 years in 2014 in Quebec (30.1), Ontario (30.5), British Columbia (30.8) and Yukon (30.3). At 25.4 years, Nunavut had the lowest average age of motherhood.

While 58.9% of live births in 1994 were to women under the age of 30, this proportion fell to 44.7% in 2014. Over the last two decades, women have also become more likely to delay the birth of their first child. In 2014, 43.8% of first births were to women aged 30 to 49, up from 27.9% two decades earlier in 1994.

Sustainable Development Goals

On January 1, 2016, the world officially began implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — the United Nations' transformative plan of action that addresses urgent global challenges over the next 15 years. The plan is based on 17 specific sustainable development goals.

The release "Births and stillbirths" is an example of how Statistics Canada supports the reporting on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. This release will be used in helping to measure the following goals:

  Note to readers

Data on births are collected by the Vital Statistics – Birth Database and Vital Statistics – Stillbirth Database, administrative surveys that collect demographic and medical information annually from all provincial and territorial vital statistics registries on all live births and stillbirths in Canada.

The data are used to calculate basic indicators (such as counts and rates) on births of residents of Canada. Information from these databases are also used in the calculation of statistics, such as age-specific fertility rates.

Data for reference year 2014 from the Vital Statistics – Birth Database and Vital Statistics – Stillbirth Database are now available.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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