Key findings: P0305 - Recorded live births, 2017

The total number of registered births was continuously dropping from 2013 up until 2016 but increased in 2017. A total of 989 318 live births were registered at the Department of Home Affairs in 2017. This is an increase of 2,1% compared to 969 415 births that were registered in 2016. Of the 989 318 live births registered, 897 750 (90,7%) were current birth registrations (2017 birth occurrences) and 91 568 (9,3%) were late registrations (2016 and earlier years birth occurrences). Overall, there were slightly more male (500 916) than female (488 402) births registered in 2017. For births which occurred in 2017, the sex ratio at birth was 102 males per 100 females. Birth occurrences were high in January followed by March and September respectively, and this has been the case from 2013 to 2017. The completeness of 2017 births registered was estimated at 88,6%.

The current birth registrations were highest among women aged 30-34 and 25-29 at 95,5% and 95,1%, respectively. In addition, regarding the birth occurrence, women aged 25-29 years accounted for the highest proportion of birth occurrences (26,2%) followed by women aged 20-24 years (25,5%) and
30-34 (21,3%) respectively.

Of the 989 318 total birth registrations in 2017, Gauteng (239 457) had the highest number of total birth registrations followed by KwaZulu-Natal (197 913) and Limpopo (122 947). Northern Cape had the lowest number accounting for 24 395 of all birth registrations. This is however reflective of the population distribution by province hence the most populated provinces were the ones with the highest number of birth registrations.

The Births and Deaths Registration Amendment Act (Act No.18 of 2010) mandates that registration of births must be within 30 days of birth occurrence. In South Africa, for the year 2017 about 77,7% births complied with the mandate. Provincially, Free State (94,1%) and North West (92,2%) had the highest proportion of births registered within 30 days of birth occurrence. KwaZulu-Natal (73,4%) had the lowest proportion of births registered within 30 days. 

In general, the pattern of birth occurrences by month has been the same in the last five years with the highest proportion of births occurring during the month of March. This suggests that birth occurrences were likely to be conceived during June. Detailed information on birth occurrences from 1995 to 2017 by month of birth and sex is provided on pages 43−50 of the full report.