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Data Collection Overview

Births Deaths and Marriages VIC, Birth Registration Collection

Data Collection Sources

VIC Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages – Birth Registration Statement supplied by the hospital and completed by parents. Notification of the birth by the hospital, doctor or midwife attending the birth. For stillbirths a Medical Certificate of Cause of Perinatal Death is completed by the medical practitioner and forwarded either by the Funeral Director or the hospital.

Institutional environments

The Birth Registry is administered under the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1996 and the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Regulation 2008 by the VIC Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Registration of births is compulsory in Australia.

Relevance and Scope

The Register includes all births that occur in VIC including stillbirths. The register may also include births which occurred overseas where it was intended that the child become a Victorian resident [s13(4) Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1996]. In addition to the administrative Birth Registration information (required under the Regulations) additional information is collected for stillbirths on the Medical Certificate of Cause of Perinatal Death. This information is gathered for statistical purposes and forwarded to the ABS for coding and collation at a national level.
Although stillbirths are registered as a birth, for reporting purposes these are accounted for in perinatal death statistics published in Causes of Death, Australia and previously, in Perinatal Deaths, Australia.


Parents are required to submit a birth registration statement within 60 days after the date of birth. The VIC Register of Births Deaths and Marriages does not produce its own reports but provides data electronically to the ABS on a monthly basis for compilation into aggregate statistics on a quarterly and annual basis.


Data are subject to non-sampling error, which can arise from inaccuracies in collecting, recording and processing of data. These include: misreporting of data items; non-response to particular questions; and processing errors. Every effort is made to minimise error by working closely with data providers, the careful design of forms, training of processing staff and efficient data processing procedures.
Another dimension of non-sampling error in birth registrations data is the interval between the occurrence and registration of a birth. As a result, some births occurring in one year are not registered until the following year or even later. This can be caused by either a delay by the parent(s) in submitting a completed form to the registry, or a delay by the registry in processing the birth (for example, due to follow up regarding missing information on the form, or resource limitations).


Data can be requested from the VIC Registrar for Births, Deaths and Marriages. Aggregate birth data can be accessed from the ABS website in both report format and in data cubes. Some summary statistics are available on the VIC Registry website. The latest publication is Births, Australia, 2014 available from the ABS website.


Births statistics are generally straightforward and easy to interpret. It should be noted, however, that changes in numbers of births over time can be due to two factors: changes in fertility and changes in the number of women of child-bearing ages. For this reason, births data need to be considered in relation to the size of the relevant population(s) through the use of fertility rates.
Another aspect that may be overlooked is plurality, or the fact that each birth of a multiple birth is counted individually in births data. Confinement statistics remove the effect of plurality and are used when analysing characteristics of the mother or father; for example, for calculating median ages.
Information on fertility rates as well as data sources, terminology, classifications and other technical aspects associated with the statistics presented in this publication can be found in the Explanatory Notes, Appendices and Glossary.

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