Fertility rate per woman in Egypt declines by 20% since 2014: CAPMAS

El-Sayed Gamal El-Din , Zeinab El-Gundy , Tuesday 30 Aug 2022

The fertility rate per woman in Egypt declined in 2021 to 2.8, a 20 percent drop from the 3.5 births per woman figure in the last survey conducted in 2014, the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS) said on Tuesday

File Photo (Reuters)


The new figures released by CAPMAS were based on the most recent study that was conducted by the Health of the Egyptian Family (HEF) survey, which also released new figures on C-sections operations, FGM, and child mortality.

The country's last fertility rate surveys, which started in 1988, were conducted in 2014.

In a press conference in Cairo, CAPMAS chairman Khairat Barakat that the survey was conducted to build a comprehensive and thorough database of population data.

According to the HEF survey, the fall in the fertility rate in Egypt was due to an increase in the use of birth control.

However, the decline in fertility rate in Egypt varied depending geographical area, Barakat said.

He stressed that further studies are required to determine the reason behind this and to develop special programs tailored for each geographical area.

Meanwhile, adviser to the chairman of CAPMAS Hussein Abdel-Aziz said during the presser that Egypt aims to reduce the fertility rate to 1.6 births per woman.

The United Nations Population Division defines any rate below 2.1 births per woman as below replacement level.

The UN said in its World Populations Prospects 2022 that the average fertility of the world’s population in 2021 stood at 2.3 births per woman over a lifetime, falling by half from about five births per woman in 1950.

It added that global fertility is projected to decline further to 2.1 births per woman by 2050.

In February of this year, the country's population hit 103 million, with females comprising 47.5 million out of the total population.

The number of Egyptians abroad is estimated at 10 million.

The rate of the increase in population in 2021 was 1.88 percent.

New births in 2021 registered 2.159 million in 2021 - down three percent from 2020.

Assiut, Minya, Qena, Sohag, and Beni Suef were the governorates with the highest birth rates.

Increase in C-sections

There has also a noticeable increase in caesarean sections, which poses a burden on the public health sector, CAPMAS said.

C-section births increased to 72 percent in 2021, up from 52 percent in 2014.

C-section operations increased in rural areas to 84 percent in 2021, compared to 70.6 percent in 2014.

Decline in FGMs

The rate of female genital mutilation (FGM) declined for girls 19 years old or younger, registering 14 percent in 2021, compared to 21 percent in 2014, which was a direct result of the efforts to combat the practice in Egypt, CAPMAS said.

It stressed, however, that awareness campaigns against FGM must continue and tough penalties against the practice must be enforced.

In 2021, Egypt toughened the penalties against FGM.

An individual can face a minimum of five years in prison for removing, modifying, or mutilating a female’s genitals, and a minimum of seven years if the procedure causes permanent damage.

Doctors and nurses can face 10 years in prison for performing the procedure that results in permanent injury.

Perpetrators of the criminal offence who are not licenced medical practitioners can face 10 years in prison for performing FGM that leads to the death of a female if they, while those who are doctors or nurses can face 15 to 20 years in jail.

Those convicted of performing female circumcision would be barred from practicing their profession for five years and the institution where the circumcision is performed would be closed.

Child mortality

The survey also found a decline in child mortality in children up to four years old to  three children per 1,000 births in 2021, down from five children per 1,000 births in 2014.

The data also showed that anemia among children under five years old has increased to 43 percent, up to 27 percent in 2014.

According to CAPMAS, a detailed final report for the survey results, which will include governorate-based data, is being prepared.

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