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BANGI: The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of women of reproductive age in Malaysia has continued to decline over the past five decades and if this trend continues it is expected that the annual population growth will continue to decline until it reaches a level of 0.7 per cent in 2050.

Women, Family and Community Development Ministry (KPWKM) secretary-general Datuk Dr Maziah Che Yusoff said the fertility rate in Malaysia dropped sharply from 6.7 births per woman in 1957 to 4.0 in 1980, 3.0 in 2000, 2.1 in 2010 and 1.7 in 2021.

“Among the main factors contributing to the decline are delayed marriage which causes the reproductive period to be shorter, tendency to have a small family for various reasons such as financial capability and infertility problems due to health reasons.

“This decrease in the fertility rate will simultaneously accelerate the aging process of the population in Malaysia and it is expected that 15 per cent of the population will be 60 years old and above in 2030,“ she said in an online speech in conjunction with the 2022 National Population Conference (PERKKS 22) here today.

TFR refers to the average number of children that will be born to a woman who survives until the end of her reproductive age (between the ages of 15 and 49).

Maziah said if the fertility rate continues to drop and no intervention is taken to deal with this situation, the Malaysian population will reach its maximum population of 46 million in 2071 before experiencing population shrinkage in 2072, which will result in a more serious shortage of manpower thus affecting the development of the country.

In the meantime, she said the government welcomes more research findings, especially in the field of population and family to be used as input for evidence-based policy making and to develop effective intervention programmes.

On PERKKS 22, she said the two-day conference starting today was timely and was one of the activities to celebrate the National Family Month, which is now known as the Malaysian Family Month.

PERKKS 22 is organised by the National Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN) together with the United Nations Population Fund Malaysia and Universiti Malaya Business and Economics Faculty. – Bernama

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