The Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency supported by the United Nations Population Fund on Wednesday launched thematic analysis of results of the 2012 national census, which among other issues show that the fertility rate among people declined in Zimbabwe between 1982 and 2012.
The results, however, show that fertility will remain high at four children per woman for the next two decades largely because this fertility decline only occurred too early and late in the lives of mothers.
According to one expert behind the findings, Professor Marvelous Mhloyi of the University of Zimbabwe, the high fertility rate among adolescent women and significant fertility beyond age 35 contributed to the high maternal and infants deaths in the country.
She said fertility picked up in 2010 largely due to the stabilization of the economy. But Prof Mhloyi noted that despite the temporary bust and boom in fertility at that period, Zimbabwe must learn from the developed countries and start designing programs that will halt fertility decline so that it maintains an optimum population in size.
The results also show that the country’s mortality rate improved between 2002 and 2012 by 50 percent at 525 per 100,000 live births in the 15 to 19 year age group and 1,108 per 100,000 live births in the above 40 age group.
The population aged 0 to 14 years is projected to decline to about 32 percent from the current 41 percent while the population of those that are 65 years and above is not expected to change.
Zmistats director, Mutasa Dzinotezi, said the data was critical for planners and decision makers as they need it for future planning.
UNPFA country director, Cheihk Tidiane Cisse, said the data could not have come at a better time than when the country is undertaking a number of development programs such as the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio–Economic Transformation and the development of a new Zimbabwe United Nations Development Assistance program and the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals.