Births in Canada down for the first time in a decade

Carolyn Morris
Shine OnJune 22, 2012

For the first time in 10 years, Canadian hospitals have seen a dip in the number of babies born in their delivery rooms.

A new report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information shows  that the approximately 371,000 hospital births in 2010-2011 represented a drop of 1.5 per cent from the previous year — or 5,600 fewer newborns. This goes against the 10-year climb in the number of births in the country.

"Since 2002 we've been seeing an increase in the birth rate," Agnita Pal, the institute's manager of information services for acute and ambulatory care tells the Canadian Press. "And for the first time this year, our data has shown a drop in the births."

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But their data contradicts Statistics Canada birth estimates, which show birth rates increasing every year from 2006 to 2011.

While the recent report only includes hospital births -- and would be missing those deliveries done at home, or in the proverbial taxi -- births outside hospitals only represent one per cent of the countries deliveries, reports the Canadian Press.

The decline is similar to what was seen in the late 1990s. From 1995-1996 to 2000-2001, birth rates dropped by about 13 per cent. Then they began to climb back up.

Some experts, like Susan McDaniel, the Canada Research Chair in Global Population and Life Course at the University of Lethbridge, attribute the climb back up over the last decade to older moms deciding to have a child.

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"The bump-up seems to be that a lot of couples have postponed child-bearing and then they get to the end of the child-bearing possibilities, or what they perceive as that, and they have a child later," she tells the Canadian Press.

So maybe it was just a 10-year blip, and now we can all go back to raising our 1.67 children.

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