The total number of children born in SA is declining, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) said on Thursday.
Releasing the Recorded Live Births 2013-2015 report at a media briefing in Pretoria, Statistician General Pali Lehohla said there has been a decline in the number of births.
The report, which provides information on registered live births in the country and collects information on sex, dates of birth and registration, among others, noted that the number of birth registrations has decreased by 6.8% from 1.6 million in 2013 to 1.08 million in 2015. The report further noted that the biggest decline in birth registrations by province were recorded in KwaZulu-Natal.
“The total number of children born in South Africa has started to decline in absolute numbers.
“We can see that Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal are the highest producers of children, but even then there are no places where the number of births are increasing. What we see actually is a very interesting decline in the numbers of birth year in and year out. The overall number of children that are born is actually in decline, including in rural areas,” said the Statistician General.
There were 1 158 622 birth registrations in 2013, which moved to 1 142 275 birth registrations in 2014. The number for total birth registration was at 1 082 511 in 2015.
The report shows that the timeliness of birth registration within the prescribed 30 days has improved. This, Lehohla said, was due to the campaign led by the Department of Home Affairs to urge parents to register births. The other factor, which influenced the timely registration of births, is the need to register for the child support grant.
The report stated that the median age of mothers at birth has fluctuated between 26 and 28 from 1998 to 2015, while the peak in births was in March, January and September.
According to the report, the most popular name for baby boys in 2015 was Junior followed by Blessing and Gift. For baby girls the most popular names were Precious and Angel.
Perinatal death in SA report
The Statistician General also released the 2014 Perinatal Death in SA report, which shows that in 2014, stillbirths accounted for 66% of perinatal deaths, while early neonatal deaths accounted for 34% of perinatal deaths.
According to the report, 119 male stillbirths were recorded in the country per 100 female stillbirths. In addition, 127 male early neo-natal deaths were recorded in South Africa per 100 female early neo-natal deaths.
Black Africans comprised the majority of deaths among stillbirths at 80.2%, early neonatal deaths at 81.2% and 80.6% for perinatal deaths.
Disorders related to the length of gestation and foetal growth as well as infections specific to the perinatal period were among the top 10 leading broad causes of perinatal deaths.