Malaysia has recorded a fertility rate of 1.7 babies of women in reproductive age in the year of 2020 and this rate is the lowest recorded in 4 decades, the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) said.
This also serves as a warning that the country will reach the aging nation status earlier than expected.
In a statement, chief statistician, Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahid said the total fertility rate (TFR) of women in reproductive age in Malaysia declined to 1.7 babies in 2020 as compared to 1.8 babies in 2019.
“The 2020 fertility rate was the lowest in 4 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 was quoted saying by The Malaysian Reserve.
He also explained that a 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, based on the Principles and Recommendations for A Vital Statistics (Revision 3), United Nations Statistics Division (2014) manual.
“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 added.
Meanwhile, he also said that the decline in the TFR ratio has an impact on the population structure in Malaysia.
“This will cause Malaysia to shift to being an aging nation earlier than previously projected.” he said, adding that the current target is for the country to reach aging population status is when 15% of the population are 60 and above or by 2030.
Uzir also said that study found that the number of live births last year stood at 470,195 and this is the lowest number in over a decade. This also represents a 3.6% decrease compared to the 487,957 in 2019.
On the other hand, Uzir said that from 2010 to 2020, the TFR for all major ethnic groups in Malaysia has shown a declining trend.
“The TFR for Bumiputera declined from 2.6 babies to 2.2 babies, Chinese (1.5 babies to 1.0 babies) and Indians (1.7 babies to 1.2 babies) in 2020.”
“The TFR for Chinese and Indians recorded below the replacement levels starting 2003 and 2005 respectively.” he was quoted saying by FMT.
He also said that the number of deaths in 2020 stood at 166,507 deaths, and this is a 4.2% decrease compared to 173,746 deaths in 2019. Nonetheless, the death of male were much higher than females with 96,322 and 70,185 deaths respectively.
As for 2021, the preliminary data for deaths from January to August stood at 132,812 deaths.
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