Navigate Up
Sign In

Data Collection Overview

Births Deaths and Marriages QLD, Birth Registration Collection

Data Collection Sources

QLD Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages – Birth Registration Application form completed by parents and notification by either the hospital of birth or a doctor or registered midwife who attended the birth (if outside a hospital). 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 pursuant to the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 2003 by the QLD Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Registration of births is compulsory in Australia.

Relevance and Scope

The Register includes all births that occur in QLD including stillbirths (The term 'stillborn child' is defined as a child who has shown no sign of respiration or heartbeat, or other sign of life, after completely leaving the child's mother; and who has been gestated for 20 weeks or more; or weighs 400g or more). 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 register a birth within 60 days. The QLD 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 activity due to missing information on the form, or resource limitations).


Data can be requested from the QLD 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 QLD Registry website. The latest publication is Births, Australia, 2012 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.

Maternity Information Matrix © 2011-2014 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and University of New South Wales | Copyright information | Disclaimer