Number of children in Malaysia declines to 9.24m in 2020

by BERNAMA / pic by ARIF KARTONO

CHILDREN comprise 28.3 per cent of Malaysia’s population of 32.7 million in 2020, or a drop of 78,100 to 9.24 million from 9.32 million in the previous year, according to the Children Statistics, Malaysia, 2020 released today.

There are 4.77 million boys and 4.47 million girls in 2020.

“This decrease is significant for the age groups 0 to 4 years and 13 to 17 years. For the age group of 0 to 4 years, the decline is 1.5 per cent (37,800),” chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said when commenting on the Children Statistics publication.

“This is due to the decrease in the number of live births to 488,000 in 2019 as compared to 502,000 in the previous year. Meanwhile, children in the age group of 13 to 17 years decreased by 1.5 per cent (41,600),” he said in a statement today.

In terms of health perspective, Mohd Uzir said all immunisation coverage for infants in 2019, namely Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG), Poliomyelitis (Polio), Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (DTP), Haemophilus influenza type b (HIB) and Hepatitis B, has exceeded 95 per cent and reached the national immunisation coverage target.

To meet the needs of child care, he said, the number of registered child care centres increased 11.2 per cent to 4,903 in 2019, with the highest increase recorded in Selangor (19.7 per cent), followed by Perlis (19 per cent) and Penang (16.5 per cent).

“This was in line with the incline in the number of female employed persons to 5.87 million in 2019,” he said, adding that the involvement of females in the employment sector had prompted them to send their children to child care centres.

In 2020, he said, the operations of child care centres were affected because caregivers found it difficult to send children to child care centres due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mohd Uzir said enrolment in government and government-aided schools inclined by 9,500 from 4.84 million to 4.85 million in 2019, and the increase was contributed by pre-school (0.7 per cent) and primary school (1.3 per cent) levels of education.

“For private schools, the increase in enrolment can be seen at kindergartens and primary schools at 3,000 and 200 respectively in 2019 as compared to the previous year,” he said.

Based on the Department of Social Welfare record, Dr Mohd Uzir said the number of new cases of Persons With Disabilities for children in 2019 was 20,321, with the age group of 6 to 12 years making up the biggest group at 50.5 per cent.

Mohd Uzir said the number of children under 18 years involved in crime decreased by 8.7 per cent from 5,294 cases in 2018 to 4,833 cases in 2019.