Almost 10% of babies born to teenage mothers, while Melokuhle is SA's most popular name: Stats SA

Teenagers account for 10% of births in SA. File photo.
Teenagers account for 10% of births in SA. File photo.
Image: esa alexander

Mothers aged between 10 and 19 account for almost 10% of births in SA, with slightly more male babies born overall, according to the latest national statistics.

A total of 1,003,307 births were registered in 2020, reflecting a 48,004 decrease compared with 2019. This is according to Stats SA's recorded live birth 2020 data, released this week.

“As observed from previous years, most births occurred to women aged 25—29 years (26%), closely followed by those aged 20—24 years (24.2%), and then those aged 30—34 years (21.9%).

“Births occurring in these age groups (20—34 years) represent 72% of all births that occurred and were registered in 2020. Just above 9% of births occurred to older adolescents aged 15—19; while 0.4% of births occurred to younger adolescents in the 10—14 age range. Mothers aged 40 and older accounted for almost 4% of births, while just 1.3% of births had unspecified age,” said Stats SA.

The negative effect of Covid-19 and the national lockdown regulations such as the closure of department of home affairs offices resulted in a 9.2% decline in the number of births registered within 30 days and an increase in late registrations.

The months of April, October, and November show a slowdown in registrations within the first 30 days of birth. This pattern deviates from the past observed number of births registered within 30 days after occurrence. Differentials in births by sex showed that there were slightly more male births than female births with a sex ratio of 102 male birth registrations per 100 female birth registrations.

“Provincial distributions show that as observed in previous years, the highest number of birth occurrences were in Gauteng (21.6%) and KwaZulu-Natal (20.2%). Northern Cape (2.5%) and Free State (4.8%) had the lowest proportion of registered birth occurrences.  

“At the national level, the most popular name among both baby girls and boys was Melokuhle. Junior and Precious were common second names for boys and girls respectively. Dlamini followed by Ndlovu and Nkosi were still the top three most common surnames among babies born and registered in 2020 as was the case in previous years.

“Although the completeness of birth registration has improved, the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic affected improvement observed in previous years in the number of births registered within 30 days of birth.

“It is hoped that as the pandemic recedes further improvements will continue. Quality and content of birth registration information collected remains a concern, particularly information pertaining to fathers is still a challenge. Even in 2020, 64% of births did not contain information on fathers which means information about the natural fathers remain relatively unknown,” said Stats SA.


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