Statistics Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada


Warning View the most recent version.

Archived Content

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please "contact us" to request a format other than those available.

The Daily

Friday, September 21, 2007
2005 (correction)

Canada recorded its highest number of births—and its highest total fertility rate—in seven years in 2005, thanks mostly to women in their 30s. However, the total fertility rate is still far below the replacement level fertility.

Canada's total fertility rate in 2005 was 1.54 children per woman, an increase from 1.53 in the previous year and the highest rate since 1998. This is still well below what is known as the replacement level fertility (2.1 children per woman).

In total, 342,176 babies were born in 2005, up 1.5% from the previous year. This growth rate was more than double the 0.6% increase in 2004.

In 2005, the number of births was the highest since 1998, when 342,418 babies were born in Canada. The number of births dropped to a 55-year low in 2000. Since then, the number of births has gone up every year except 2002.

As of 2001, most babies were born to parents belonging to the echo generation (the children of baby boomers), who were already in their prime childbearing years.

right click the chart to save it.

In 1947, the nation's total fertility rate was 3.6 children per woman, the highest level since 1921. At the height of the baby boom in 1959, the number of annual births exceeded 479,000, the highest level since comparable Canada-wide vital statistics were first compiled in 1921.

The annual number of births remained high for a few more years, then dropped sharply starting in 1964. This period of relatively low births, known as the baby bust, lasted about 10 years until the mid-1970s.

The first echo of the baby boom generation was expected in the mid-1970s, approximately 25 years after the beginning of the baby boom, when the mean age of a mother would have been 25 years old.

There were larger increases in the number of births during 1974 and 1975, but in the following years the rises were relatively modest.

It was not until the late 1980s, from 1988 to 1990, that there was a substantial increase in the number of births, followed by decreases until the year 2000.

Increase in fertility due mainly to women in their 30s

Over the last 15 years, and particularly the last 5 years, there has been a shift in the age groups with the highest fertility rates.

In 1995 and 2000, age-specific fertility rates peaked among women aged 25 to 29. However, in 2005, women aged 25 to 29 and those aged 30 to 34 shared the highest rates, each around 97 per 1,000 women.

In fact, women aged 30 to 34 had the highest proportion of births in 2005, accounting for 107,524, or 31.4% of total births.

The 105,566 babies born to women aged 25 to 29 in 2005 represented 30.9% of all births, while those born to women aged 35 to 39 accounted for 14.5% of all births.

The average age of women giving birth has risen steadily in the last 25 years. In both 2004 and 2005, the average age was 29.2 years, compared with 25.9 years in 1980.

Fertility rates have been declining among teenage girls almost steadily since 1991. In 2005, the fertility rate for girls aged 15 to 19 was 13.4 children per 1,000 women, compared with 13.7 in 2004.

Teen fertility rates declined in all provinces except Alberta, where the rate rose slightly from 18.8 per 1,000 women in 2004 to 18.9 in 2005.

Number of births declines in three of four Atlantic Provinces

The number of births fell in four provinces and two territories in 2005. The four provinces were Saskatchewan, and three in the Atlantic region: Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

The number of births in the fourth Atlantic province, Newfoundland and Labrador, remained virtually unchanged from 2004.

Yukon recorded the biggest decline in the nation (-12.3%), while Prince Edward Island had the biggest decline among the provinces (-3.6%).

Alberta and Quebec led with increases of 3.3% and 3.1%, respectively. These two provinces alone accounted for almost three-quarters (71%) of the net increase in births in 2005.

The 0.9% increase in Ontario was well below the national average of 1.5%.

Rising fertility in Canada parallels trends in other low-birth-rate countries

The rising number of births in Canada parallels trends in several other low-birth-rate countries, which have also experienced an upturn in fertility in recent years.

This upward trend began before 2003 in some countries: the Czech Republic (2000), Sweden (2000), Spain (1999), and France (1998).

Total fertility rates, selected countries, 2003 to 2005 
Country 2003 2004 2005
Czech Republic 1.18 1.23 1.28
Greece 1.29 1.30 1.33
Spain 1.31 1.33 1.35
Canada 1.53 1.53 1.54
Belgium 1.64 1.68 1.72
Sweden 1.72 1.76 1.77
United Kingdom 1.73 1.78 1.80
Denmark 1.76 1.78 1.80
Australia 1.75 1.77 1.81
Norway 1.80 1.83 1.84
France 1.87 1.92 1.94
Sources:National statistics offices and Eurostat.


The number of stillbirths (fetal deaths) amounted to 2,209 in 2005, an increase of 143, or 6.9%, from 2004.

There were 6.4 stillbirths for every 1,000 total births (that is, live births plus stillbirths), up slightly from 6.1 in 2004.

Stillbirth rates varied from 4.0 for every 1,000 total births in Quebec to 11.3 for every 1,000 in Nunavut.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey numbers, including related surveys, 3231 and 3234. (correction)

The 2005 issue of Births (84F0210XWE, free) is now available from the Publications module of our website.

For general information, contact Client Services (613-951-1746; fax: 613-951-4198;, Health Statistics Division.

To enquire about the concepts, methods and data quality of this release, contact Shiang Ying Dai (613-951-1759), Health Statistics Division.