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IELTS Writing Task 1 #96

You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

The table below presents the number of children ever born to women aged 40-44 years in Australia for each year the information was collected since 1981.

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

Write at least 150 words.

Number of children ever born, Women aged 40–44 years
          Four or
    One Two Three more
None child children children children
year % % % % %
2006 15.9 13.2 38.3 21.5 11.0
1996 12.8 11.3 38.2 24.6 13.1
1986 9.7 8.7 35.6 27.0 18.9
1981 8.5 7.6 29.0 27.4 27.6
Source: ABS Births Australia 2001, 2006 (3301.0)

Test Tip

You should ‘signpost’ general statements, i.e. introduce them with expressions such as:

The table/pie chart/graph/etc. shows...
The most significant change...
Another noticeable trend...

You must also support general statements with detailed information from the table/graph/etc.

Model answer

The table shows the number of children born to women aged 40–44 years in Australia in 1981, 1986, 1996 and 2001.

In 1981, women aged 40-44 years were only marginally more likely to have had two children than three children (29% vs 27.4%) or four or more children (27.6%). Similarly, by 1986, women of this age were considerably more likely to have given birth to two children than three children (35.6% vs 27%) or four or more children (18.9%).

In 1996 and 2006, the proportions of women aged 40-44 years who had given birth to two children were almost identical, though the proportions who had given birth to three children or to four or more children had decreased. In these more recent periods, women were more likely to have had two children than three or more children - a trend that was most marked in the most recent period (38.2% vs 24.6% in 1996; 38.3% vs 21.5% in 2006).

While two-child families now predominate, the number of women who had given birth to only one child increased progressively from 7.6% in 1981 to 13.2% in 2006.

In 1981, similar proportions of women aged in their early forties were childless or had given birth to only one child (8.5% and 7.6% respectively). By 2006, 15.9% of women were childless and 13.2% had given birth to only one child.

Overall, by age 40-44 years, the proportion of women who have had three or more children has fallen considerably since the 1980s, while the proportions who have had no children, or only one or two children has increased.

(266 words)