More births registered in 2017

Monday, August 27, 2018

South Africa experienced an increase of births in 2017 - growing from 969 415 to 989 318 - Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) said on Monday.

Briefing reporters at the release of the Recorded Live Births report for 2017, Stats SA announced a 2.1% increase in the number of recorded live births.

All births occurring in South Africa ought to be registered within 30 days from the date of occurrence and of the total 989 318 births registered, 897 750 were current registrations, while 91 568 were late registrations (births that occurred in 2016 and earlier).

The report, which presents information on live births in South Africa, based on data from the national birth registration system at the Department of Home Affairs, also stated that the timeliness of birth registrations improved from 56% in 2013 to 78% in 2017.

In terms of provinces, the most populous ones Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal at 239 457 and 197 913, respectively, had the highest number of total birth registrations while the lowest number of birth registrations were seen in the Northern Cape at 24 395.

This was in line with the population size of the province.

According to the report, mothers aged 30 to 34 years had the highest proportion (95.5%) of births registered within the year of occurrence, closely followed by 25 to 29 years and those aged 35 to 39.

Births occurring to mothers aged 20 to 34 represented 73% of all births in 2017.

Teenage mothers

The highest proportion of births registered later than the year of occurrence were observed in those aged 10 to 14 years. A total 1 302 children were born to teenagers aged 10 to 14.

“We didn’t pick up reasons in terms of late registrations of those mothers aged 10 to 14 from the Home Affairs forms. We know that those aged 10 to 14 should be at school. When such births occur, there are so many reasons why families would be vacillating in going to register the births. Some of these births have been concealed, including from parents and people who are looking after those aged from 10 to 14 years,” said Statistician General Risenga Maluleke.

There were 102 male births per 100 female births in the country, a phenomena seen globally.

“Generally all over the world is that there are more boys born than girls, it’s a phenomena picked up throughout the world. Between ages 0-5, the survival rate of boys is very low compared to girls and as they grow further in life, we know that we tend to have more women in society including in South Africa,” Maluleke told a media briefing in Pretoria.

However, births in adolescents (aged 10 to 19) were down to 11% in 2017, while mothers in high risk pregnancy aged 35 to 54 remained at 15%. This as Stats SA said the mother’s age is useful when developing maternal and child health policies and planning for the provision of health care services.

Absent fathers

The report, which showed that birth occurrences peaked in March, May and September, also showed that 62% of the 2017 births had no information on fathers.

Explaining this, the Statistician General said while this information is missing from the Home Affairs form (DHA-24), other surveys conducted by Stats SA corroborate the phenomena of absent fathers.

“From other surveys that we do, we do know that about 60% of the fathers have reported that they are married to 33% of mothers. When we look on information that we release on children aged 0 to 6 years earlier this year, and we looked at the number of fathers that are not available or children that are being raised without the fathers, this information that we pick up from the forms of Home Affairs, tends to correlate with what we have picked up.

“[It] is not only the issue of the information of the fathers not being available from the form. The fathers are also generally absent from the upbringing and parenting of their children in South Africa,” he said.

Popular names and surnames

Ethnicity, religious beliefs and social history were among the topics of what baby names reflected in South Africa. 

The name Enzokuhle meaning “to do good,” was the top first name given to baby boys and girls. Other top ten popular names for both sexes included Lethabo and Amogelang.

For middle names, Precious was the most popular among girls, while Junior topped the list for boys.

The surname Dlamini was at the top of the top ten popular baby surnames in 2017 followed by Nkosi, Ndlovu, Khumalo and Sithole.

The Births and Deaths Registration Amendment Act regulates that registration of birth must be done within 30 days and in 2017 North West was the leading province in terms of births registered. -