Malaysia’s fertility rate lowest in 40 years

MALAYSIA’s fertility rate in 2020 is the lowest in four decades with 1.7 babies of women in reproductive age, the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) said.

Malaysia’s chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of women in reproductive age in Malaysia declined to1.7 babies in 2020 as compared to 1.8 babies in 2019.

“The 2020 fertility rate was the lowest in four decades with 4.9 children per woman in 1970. Malaysia’s fertility rate was below the replacement level of 2.1 babies since 2013,” he said in a statement.

Based on the Principles and Recommendations for A Vital Statistics (Revision 3), United Nations Statistics Division
(2014) manual, the replacement level of 2.1 babies is the average number of children a woman would need to give birth by bearing a daughter who survives to childbearing age.

“If replacement level of fertility is sustained over a sufficiently long period, each generation will exactly replace herself and her partner regardless of population migration,” he said.

According to DOSM, only three states recorded above the replacement level, namely Terengganu (2.9 babies), W.P. Putrajaya (2.8 babies) and Kelantan (2.7 babies).

“The total population of Malaysia in 2020 was estimated at 32.6 million, contributed by natural increase that is the difference between the number of births and deaths that occur every year,” Mohd Uzir said.

He said understanding the trend of change in the ratio of population born to the number of deaths is very important to gauge the extent of government policies or implementation of programmes for  inclusive and sustainable development plans in the future.

“Preliminary data for live births for the period of January to August totalled 240,590 births. The number of live births was 470,195 in 2020, a decrease of 3.6 per cent as compared to 487,957 in 2019. This was the lowest live births over a decade,” Mohd Uzir said further.

More males newborn than females with 243,617 and 226,578 respectively. The decline in the number of live births has contributed to the decline in Crude Birth Rate (CBR) from 15.0 births in 2019 to 14.4 per thousand population in 2020.

“All states recorded a decrease in the number of live births in 2020 as compared to 2019 except Terengganu, Perlis and W.P. Labuan,” he added.

Meanwhile, males deaths were higher than females with 96,322 and 70,185 deaths, respectively last year.

The Crude Death Rate (CDR) continued to decrease from at 5.3 in 2019 to 5.1 deaths per thousand population in 2020.

Besides that, all states recorded a decrease in the number of deaths in 2020 as compared to 2019 except Sabah, Sarawak, W.P. Labuan and W.P. Putrajaya which recorded an increase. –TMR