KUALA LUMPUR: The national fertility rate this year is expected to decline to the lowest level recorded since the formation of Malaysia in 1963, with 15.8 births per 1,000 people compared to 16.1 in 2017.
According to the 2018 Malaysia's Selected Demographic Indicator, the overall fertility rate of Malaysian women aged 15 to 49 is estimated at 19.1 children, which is below the replacement level of 2.1 children.
This means that the Malaysian population is shrinking, as the average number of babies born to a woman during her period of fertility is not sufficient to replace her and her partner, Chief Statistician of the Department of Statistics Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidi told Bernama.
"This decline in the overall fertility rate is also one of the demographic factors that contributes to population aging," he said in a statement.
Meanwhile the gross mortality rate in 2018 is 5.1 deaths per 1,000 people – a drop from 5.2 deaths in 2017.
As a result of the lower mortality rate, Malaysia’s population in 2018 is estimated to increase by 0.4 million to 32.4 million people, the report said.
In terms of lifespans, a female born in 2018 could live for 77.6 years, while a male could live for 72.7 years.
As for gender indicators, the number of males is estimated to increase to 14.69 million this year, outnumbering females at 14.37 million.
According to the Indicator, Malaysians in the 15 to 64 year age group will increase to 22.58 million in 2018; while those in the 65 years and up category will increase to 2.10 million.
The 0 to 14 year group, meanwhile, is estimated to drop to 7.71 million this year, compared to 7.73 million in 2017.
"Finally, the average household size for urban dwellers this year will drop from 4.06 persons to 4.03 persons per household.
“(This is lower than the) size of rural households, which stands at 4.70 people," the report said.