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Canada's total fertility rate (TFR) has been declining since 2008 and this drop continued in 2017. There were 1,496 births per 1,000 women in 2017 compared with 1,543 in 2016 and 1,681 in 2008. The TFR is an estimate of the average number of live births that 1,000 women would have in their lifetime, based on the age-specific fertility rates of a given year.
In 2017, there were 376,291 live births in Canada, excluding Yukon for which data were not available at the time of release. Boys accounted for a slight majority of births at 51.3%, while girls made up the other 48.7%.
Low birthweight indicators on the rise
In 2017, low birthweight indicators continued their upward trend compared with 2000. The proportion of live births where the infant weighed less than 2,500 grams rose from 5.6% in 2000 to 6.5% in 2017. Over the same period, the average birth weight was down 2.6%, from 3,413 grams to 3,327 grams.
The number of births with a gestation period of 42 weeks or more has fallen sharply over the years, from 3,608 in 2000 to 1,317 in 2017. Every province except Manitoba saw a decrease in the number of births with a gestation period of 42 weeks or more.
Fetal deaths rise in Canada
In 2017, there were 3,159 fetal deaths (stillbirths) in Canada where the fetus was at 20 weeks or more of gestation, up 3.1% from 2016 and continuing the general upward trend observed since 2000. The number of fetal deaths in 2017 was 59% higher than in 2000 (1,990).
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 Births release 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 goal:
Note to readers
For 2017, in an effort to be more timely, the duration of data collection has been shortened compared with previous years. The 2017 data are therefore considered preliminary. Data will be revised with subsequent releases.
Data for births in Yukon are not available. To avoid confusion, we have also suppressed those births to residents of Yukon that occurred in other provinces and territories. Data for Yukon are, however, included in the Canadian totals and averages for the period 2000-2016.
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).