Indigenous fertility in the Northern Territory of Australia: stalled demographic transition [article]

Kim Maree Johnstone, University, The Australian National, University, The Australian National
2011
This research explores contemporary features of Indigenous fertility in the Northern Territory of Australia, the country's third largest state with the smallest total population, but with the largest proportion comprised of Indigenous peoples. The research exploits births data from a range of data sources to investigate whether Indigenous fertility trends in the Northern Territory over the past 20 years are a characteristic of stalled demographic transition. The research rests on three
more » ... s on three hypotheses: that Indigenous fertility trends in the Northern Territory were themselves an artefact of the data used to calculate the fertility rates; that there has been stalled demographic transition and the fertility declines documented for Northern Territory women during the 1960s and 1970s have not been maintained into the 21st century; and that contemporary Indigenous childbearing is characterised by universal, young mothering but not high parity. A conceptual framework was developed that captures the myriad factors that affect Indigenous fertility outcomes to provide a context within which the research results could be understood. A three-stage approach was then used to examine Indigenous fertility trends. Firstly, a detailed analysis of the collection processes for the quantitative data available for this research was undertaken, with a particular focus on the two main births data sets, vital registrations and perinatal data. Second, standard demographic techniques were used to identify fertility trends, exploiting the two births data sets, census data and survey data from the DRUID Study, a Darwin-based epidemiological study of Indigenous people. Third, a range of views and experiences of Indigenous individuals were sought through interviews and focus groups. The research showed that despite Indigenous population data in the Northern Territory being among Australia's most accurate, the use of these is constrained by issues of undercount and geographic coding of usual place of residence. Documentation of the investigation in [...]
doi:10.25911/5d7a264001945 fatcat:rq3eg6o7avbd7cs5utislfjsly