Dubai: The number of Emirati children born in Dubai has seen a drop, according to numbers published by the Dubai Statistics Centre (DSC).
Emirati women’s total fertility rate has dropped to 3.4 newborns in 2014, from 3.7 in 2009, the latest report showed.
The report includes the latest statistics obtained through the first stage of a new Biostatistics System launched by the DSC in collaboration with the Dubai Health Authority, Dubai Courts, and the Ministry of Health.
The numbers showed that around 81 babies were born daily in Dubai in 2014, with three to four newborns reported per hour, said Arif Obaid Al Muhairi, CEO of DSC.
The total number of newborns, both Emirati and non-Emirati, in 2014 was 29,282, at a monthly rate of 2,440 babies.
Al Muhairi said that Emirati women’s total fertility rate slightly fluctuated from 2009 to 2014, with the highest rate reported in 2011 at 3.9 births.
The biostatistics report showed the annual average of Emirati newborns was 8,650, against 18,464 for non-Emiratis, bringing it to 27,114 newborns in Dubai annually from 2009 to 2014, added Al Muhairi.
“I expected the rates to be even lower based on my observation and studies on the matter, and that’s due to several reasons, including the pressures of the fast-moving modern society on the younger generations,” said Reema Sabban, associate professor of Sociology at Zayed University on the reasons for the drop in fertility rates among Emirati women over a five-year period.
Sabban explained that younger Emirati women are not interested in having too many children, and are more focused on finding a job and pursuing their career. “Having a professional life, self-achievement and satisfaction are the main reasons for the drop. Many women in the younger generations don’t have the eminent approach towards having big families like women had two generations ago,” she explained. Another reason is the appearance of a “new consciousness of raising children”, said Sabban.
“Many young women have the mentality of having less children but raising them better by spending more time with them,” she added.
The increase in divorce rates among Emiratis is also another factor affecting the drop in fertility rates, Sabban said.
“The higher the divorce rates, the fewer children couples will have,” she said.
She added that due to lifestyles, the physical build of a young woman’s body from the new generation is not as strong or ready for motherhood as that of a woman from previous generations.
“Generally, their body and build is weaker and not as challenged as that of women in older generations who had a more physically strenuous lifestyle and were ready for motherhood,” Sabban explained.
Predicting a further drop in fertility rates in the years to come, Sabban referred to creating initiatives to help support and raise awareness about the challenges of raising a family in the modern world as a step forward in encouraging more young women to have children.
The biostatistics report also noted that the fertility rate in different countries is measured periodically every five years because it does not change over short periods. This could be a result of programmes, policies and plans related to fertility rates requiring longer periods to fully reflect on the fertility indicators in these communities.
In the latest findings, statistics also showed that the birth rate according to gender in 2014 was 105.2 males to 100 females. Similarly, the rate among Emirati newborns were 105.5 males to 100 females and for non-Emiratis 105.0 males to 100 females. This rate (105 males to 100 females), is considered ideal in any community, stated the report.
New biostatistics system
“The biostatistics system is an advanced statistic system that will make a shift in the biostatistics,” said Al Muhairi.
The system has up-to-date central statistical data that is constantly updated, through which the biostatics flow from Dubai Health Authority, Dubai Courts and the Ministry of Health. “All bio events, births, deaths, marriages and divorces among the different population sectors in Dubai with all their demographic, educational and social characteristics are displayed, published, analysed and recorded according to the latest methodologies and recommendations issued by the UN in the field of biostatistics,” he said.
Total number of newborns in Dubai has increased by 19.1 per cent
Emirati newborns 2009: 7,924
Non-Emirati newborns 2009: 16,659
Emirati newborns in 2014: 8,579
Non-Emirati newborns in 2014: 20,703