Country’s fertility rate lowest in four decades

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PETALING JAYA: The country’s fertility rate last year was the lowest in four decades, said the statistics department today – which also warned that the country will reach aging nation status earlier than expected.


In a statement, chief statistician Mohd Uzir Mahidin 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.

He added that over the last 10 years, an average of 17.2 people were born per 1,000 people and 4.6 people died – with a ratio of 3.7 births per one death.

“A decline in the ratio has an impact on the population structure in Malaysia,” he said.

“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 (when 15% of the population are 60 and above) by 2030.

Uzir also said the number of live births last year stood at 470,195, the lowest number in over a decade. The number was also a 3.6% decrease compared to the 487,957 in 2019.


Uzir noted 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,” he said.

“The TFR for Chinese and Indians recorded below the replacement levels starting 2003 and 2005 respectively.”

He added that the number of deaths last year stood at 166,507 deaths, a 4.2% decrease compared to 173,746 deaths in 2019. Male deaths were higher than females with 96,322 and 70,185 deaths respectively.

Preliminary data for deaths from January to August 2021 totalled 132,812 deaths.-FMT