Children comprised 28.3% of Malaysia’s population of 32.7 million in 2020, a drop of 78,100 to 9.24 million from 9.32 million in the previous year, according to the Children Statistics for Malaysia 2020 released today.
Of these, 4.77 million are boys and 4.47 million are girls.
“This decrease is significant in the age groups zero to four years and 13 to 17 years. For the age group of zero to four years, the decline is 1.5% (37,800),” chief statistician Mohd Uzir Mahidin said when commenting on the children statistics publication.
“This is due to the decrease in number of live births to 488,000 in 2019 compared to 502,000 in the previous year. Meanwhile, children in the age group of 13 to 17 years decreased by 1.5% (41,600),” he said in a statement today.
In terms of health, Uzir said immunisation coverage for infants in 2019 – BCG, polio, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, haemophilus influenza type B and Hepatitis B – exceeded 95%, reaching the national immunisation coverage target.
To meet the needs of childcare, he said, the number of registered childcare centres increased 11.2% to 4,903 in 2019, with the highest increase recorded in Selangor (19.7%), followed by Perlis (19%) and Penang (16.5%).
“This was in line with the incline in number of women employees to 5.87 million in 2019,” he said.
In 2020, he said, the operation of childcare centres had been affected because caregivers found it difficult to send children to childcare centres due to the spread of Covid-19.
Uzir said enrolment in government and government-aided schools grew by 9,500 from 4.84 million to 4.85 million in 2019, with the increase aided by pre-school (0.7%) and primary school (1.3%) levels of education.
“For private schools, the increase in enrolment can be seen at kindergartens and primary schools at 3,000 and 200 respectively in 2019 as compared to the previous year,” he said.
Based on the Department of Social Welfare record, Uzir said the number of new cases of persons with disabilities for children in 2019 was 20,321, with the age group of six to 12 comprising the biggest group at 50.5%.
Uzir said the number of children under 18 involved in crime decreased by 8.7% from 5,294 cases in 2018 to 4,833 cases in 2019.