Cape Town - South African fathers are largely absent from the lives of their children with the latest report on the country’s births showing that a large number of households are headed by single mothers.
Statistics South Africa released a report on Tuesday on recorded “live births” in 2014.
More than 1.1 million births were registered last year. However, 64 percent had no information on fathers.
The report revealed that while 60 percent of fathers were recorded as legally married, only 31 percent of mothers said they were married, suggesting that many fathers were absent in their households or the raising of their children.
A total of 886 202 births were recorded last year, while 274 957, or 24 percent, were births that occurred in previous years, but registered last year. More than half of the births were registered within 30 days, but only 76 percent of births were registered by the end of last year.
Presenting the report in Parliament on Tuesday, statistician general, Pali Lehohla, said child mortality was also dropping considerably in the country, to about 25 700 or 29.9 per 1 000 live births in 2013 – a significant drop from the 38 228 deaths or 43.5 percent per 1 000 births that were recorded in 2009.
Lehohla said of the 886 202 babies born last year, more than 50 percent were to single mothers and 61.3 percent of births had no information about the fathers of the babies.
According to the 2011 Census, 53 percent who gave birth were single women, and only 30 percent were married. Seventeen percent were cohabiting.
KwaZulu-Natal had the most mothers who never married at 24 percent followed by Gauteng at 17 percent and Limpopo at 14 percent.
Only 8 percent of Western Cape mothers never married while the Northern Cape was lowest at 3 percent.
These women were also more likely to receive care giving and economic support from their mothers than fathers.
Unmarried young mothers were financially struggling, with only 20 percent of those aged between 15 and 19 having full-time jobs.