Total fertility rate of females

Status: This standard was approved as a departmental standard on October 23, 2009.


Total fertility rate refers to the number of children that a hypothetical female would have over the course of her reproductive life if she experienced the age-specific fertility rates observed in a given calendar year.

Female refers to a person whose sex is female.


'Total fertility rate' is usually calculated for females aged 15 to 49. This is the age range for which age-specific fertility rates are usually calculated as only a very small proportion of births occur to women outside of that age range.


'Total fertility rate' is derived. It is calculated as the sum of all the age-specific fertility rates. Where age-specific fertility rates based on five-year age categories are used, this sum is multiplied by 5.

'Total fertility rate' is usually computed using age-specific fertility rates based on data from Vital Statistics and the Population Estimates Program. It may also be estimated using the own child method applied to census data. In this approach, information on recent births is inferred from the presence of young children in a household. These children are linked to the female in the household who is most likely to be their mother. Age-specific fertility rates are then estimated using information on the dates of birth of these women and their young children. The approach assumes that the vast majority of young children live with their mother. Corrections to the estimate of total fertility obtained through this method can be made to take account of infant mortality and the proportion of children not living with their mother at the time of the census.

Conformity to relevant internationally recognized standards

This standard is completely compatible with the definition of total fertility used by the United Nations.


  • 'Total fertility rate' of females is expressed as a number. October 23, 2009 to current

Relation to previous version

  • Total fertility rate of females October 23, 2009 to current

    This is the current standard.

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