Health Fact Sheets
Trends in Canadian births, 1993 to 2013

Release date: October 26, 2016

There were 380,323 live births in 2013, of which 195,183 (51.3%) were males and 185,140 (48.7%) were females (Chart 1). The majority (96.7%) of live births in Canada were single births, down from 97.9% in 1993.Note 1 Multiple births accounted for a greater proportion of live births in 2013 than they did in 1993 (3.3% compared to 2.1%). In general, the percentage of live births that are multiple births has gradually increased since 1993.

Chart 1 Live births, by sex, Canada, 1993 to 2013

Data table for Chart 1
Data table for Chart 1
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 1. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), Male live births and Female live births, calculated using number of live births units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year Male live births Female live births
number of live births
1993 199,744 188,650
1994 198,174 186,940
1995 193,755 184,261
1996 188,216 177,984
1997 178,974 169,624
1998 175,258 167,160
1999 173,059 164,190
2000 168,387 159,495
2001 171,153 162,591
2002 168,842 159,960
2003 171,691 163,511
2004 173,154 163,918
2005 175,376 166,800
2006 182,240 172,377
2007 188,337 179,527
2008 193,755 184,131
2009 195,445 185,418
2010 193,465 183,748
2011 193,587 184,049
2012 196,446 185,423
2013 195,183 185,140

In 2013, more than one-third of all live births (36.7%) were born to mothers residing in Ontario, nearly one-quarter (23.4%) in Quebec, 14.0% in Alberta, and 11.5% to mothers living in British Columbia (Table 1). Combined, these four provinces accounted for 85.6% of all live births and 86.2% of the country’s population. The remaining provinces and territories accounted for 14.4% of all live births in Canada. Despite having a smaller population, Alberta surpassed British Columbia in terms of live births in 2004 and has continued this trend through to 2013.

Table 1
Proportionate shares of Canada's live births and overall population, by province and territory, 2013
Table summary
This table displays the results of Proportionate shares of Canada's live births and overall population. The information is grouped by Provinces and territories (appearing as row headers), Live births in 2013, Share of Canada's 2013 live births and Share of Canada's 2013 population, calculated using number and percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Provinces and territories Live births in 2013 Share of Canada's 2013 live births Share of Canada's 2013 population
number percent percent
Ontario 139,736 36.7 38.6
Quebec 88,821 23.4 23.2
Alberta 53,410 14.0 11.4
British Columbia 43,779 11.5 13.1
Manitoba 16,468 4.3 3.6
Saskatchewan 14,798 3.9 3.1
Nova Scotia 8,439 2.2 2.7
New Brunswick 6,959 1.8 2.1
Newfoundland and Labrador 4,525 1.2 1.5
Prince Edward Island 1,409 0.4 0.4
Nunavut 914 0.2 0.1
Northwest Territories 669 0.2 0.1
Yukon 396 0.1 0.1

Among all live births in Canada, the average age of mothers at time of delivery was 29.9 years in 2013, up from 29.1 in 2003 and 28.0 in 1993.Note 2 British Columbia (30.7 years), Ontario (30.5 years), and Quebec (29.9 years) had average ages higher than or equal to the national average in 2013. Nunavut had the lowest average age (24.7 years), followed by Saskatchewan (28.1 years), Northwest Territories (28.3 years), New Brunswick (28.4 years), and Manitoba (28.5 Years). The average age of mothers in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Alberta, and Yukon ranged from 28.9 to 29.8 years.

Increasing share of babies born to women 30 years and older

The majority of babies were born to mothers 20 to 39 years old. Excluding cases where age of mother was unknown, 93.4% of all Canadian live births in 2013 were born to mothers aged 20 to 39 years, up slightly from 92.8% in 2003 and 92.6% in 1993. The proportion of live births born to mothers 30 to 49 years old has notably increased since 1993. Conversely, the share of live births born to mothers younger than 30 years of age markedly decreased during this period (Chart 2). Over one-half (54.4%) of all live births in 2013 were born to mothers between 30 and 49 years old, up from 47.9% in 2003 and 39.6% in 1993. Similarly, 3.5% of all live births in 2013 were born to mothers between 40 and 49, compared with 2.7% in 2003 and 1.3% in 1993.

Nearly one-half (45.6%) of all live births in 2013 were born to mothers younger than 30 years of age, compared to 52.1% in 2003 and 60.4% in 1993. The percentage of live births born to mothers younger than 20 also decreased over this period (6.1% in 1993, 4.5% in 2003, and 3.1% in 2013).

Chart 2 Live births, by age group of mother, Canada, 1993, 2003, and 2013

Data table for Chart 2
Data table for Chart 2
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 2. The information is grouped by Age group of mother (years) (appearing as row headers), 1993, 2003 and 2013, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Age group of mother (years) 1993 2003 2013
percent
Under 20 6.1 4.5 3.1
20 to 24 19.4 16.8 13.2
25 to 29 34.9 30.8 29.3
30 to 34 28.9 30.9 34.4
35 to 39 9.5 14.3 16.5
40 to 49 1.3 2.7 3.5

Among all age groups, women aged 30 to 34 years recorded the most live births in Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories in 2013.Note 3 In New Brunswick, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan it was mothers 25 to 29 years old that had the most babies, while Nunavut had the highest number of its live births born to women 20 to 24 years old.

Women delaying birth of first child

The last two decades have shown a tendency for women to delay having their first child. Between 1993 and 2013, the proportion of all first births born to women 30 to 49 years old substantially increased. Excluding cases where age of mother was not stated, mothers aged 30 to 34 accounted for 29.9% of first-born live births in 2013, up from 20.5% in 1993 (Chart 3). Similarly, mothers aged 35 to 39 years increased their share of first births from 5.4% in 1993 to 10.7% in 2013 and mothers aged 40 to 49 increased their share of first births from 0.7% to 2.2%. Conversely, the share of first births born to women under 30 years notably decreased during the last twenty-one years. The largest decrease occurred among mothers aged 20 to 24 who accounted for 25.8% of all first births in 1993 and 18.0% in 2013. Mothers aged 25 to 29 years accounted for 35.9% of all first births in 1993 and 33.3% in 2013, while mothers younger than 20 years decreased from 11.6% in 1993 to 6.0% in 2013.

Chart 3 First-born live births, by age group of mother, Canada, 1993, 2003, and 2013

Data table for Chart 3
Data table for Chart 3
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 3. The information is grouped by Age group of mother (years) (appearing as row headers), 1993, 2003 and 2013, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Age group of mother (years) 1993 2003 2013
percent
Under 20 11.6 8.4 6.0
20 to 24 25.8 22.1 18.0
25 to 29 35.9 33.4 33.3
30 to 34 20.5 25.6 29.9
35 to 39 5.4 8.9 10.7
40 to 49 0.7 1.6 2.2

In 2013, 43.5% of all live births were the mothers’ first live birth (first born), 35.3% were second births, 13.6% were third births, 4.5% were fourth births, 1.5% were fifth births, 1.3% were to mothers having their sixth or higher live birth.Note 4 These proportions have been have been very consistent annually over the last twenty-one years.

Data

Additional data on Canadian births and characteristics of mothers are available in CANSIM tables 102-4501 to 102-4513.

Date modified: