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14 February 2014

Childbirth in SA at a proportional record low

Childbirths as a proportion of the total South African population are at a record low for the first time in more than two decades.

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Childbirths as a proportion of the total South African population are at a record low for the first time in more than two decades, the SA Institute of Race Relations said.

Read: Childbirth risky for Jehovah's witnesses

"Women are choosing to delay childbirth and ultimately have fewer children, so that the number of babies born per 1000 people in a given year is shrinking," SAIRR researcher Thuthukani Ndebele said in a statement.

"A shrinking proportion of births, coupled with better life expectancy, will result in the proportion of young people dropping while that of older persons will grow."

The SAIRR sourced the data from Statistics SA. The birth rate (births per 1000 people) declined by about 16% between 2002 and 2013, Ndebele said.

Births recorded in 1991 accounted for almost 3% of the country’s population.

"By 2010, that proportion had fallen to 2% and subsequently dropped to 1.8% in 2011," Ndebele said.

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