PUTRAJAYA, Oct 15 (Sin Chew Daily) — The fertility rate for Chinese Malaysians has declined from 1.5 babies to 1 baby for the past ten years, says the Statistics Department.
In releasing the “Vital Statistics Malaysia 2021”, the department said the total fertility rate (TFR) among women of reproductive age fell to 1.7 babies last year, the lowest in four decades.
Chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said the TFR plunged from 1.8 babies in 2019 to 1.7 babies last year, the lowest since 1970 with 4.9 babies per woman.Since 2013,
TFR for Malaysia has been lower than the United Nations Statistics Division’s replacement level of 2.1 babies, said Dr Mohd Uzir.
Replacement level is the fertility rate needed to keep the population stable from generation to generation.
According to the statistics, TFR for major ethnic groups in Malaysia for the period between 2010 and 2020 showed a downward trend.
TFR for bumiputras dropped from 2.6 babies to 2.2, Chinese from 1.5 to 1 and Indians from 1.7 to 1.2.
The falling fertility rate here is in line with the trends observed in other Asean and developed countries.
With the exception of Terengganu (2.9 babies), Kelantan (2.7) and Putrajaya (2.8), TFR rates for all other states are lower than 2.1.
470,195 live births were recorded in 2020, 3.6% lower than the 487,957 recorded a year earlier, and the lowest in ten years.
The decline in crude birth rate (CBR) and TFR would cause an increase in aging population in the future and a shrinking labor force.
Dr Mohd Uzir said the falling trend in births was contributed by the increase in women’s level of education and participation in workforce.
The report also shows that the average age of first-time mothers increased from 27.9 in 2019 to 28 in 2020. This translates to shorter child bearing years for women.
“Increasing average marriage age, urbanization, lifestyle changes, economic status and family planning have contributed to the declining birth trend,” said Dr Mohd Uzir.