Child population in Turkey continues to shrink, survey shows
The number of children in Turkey continues to fall, according to a latest report released by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) on April 20.
Children aged between 0-17 now make up 22.7 million of the population, or 27.2 percent, compared to 29.4 percent in 2015, the report said.
While that percentage is high compared to other European countries, Turkey seems to be following the European trend of children declining as a proportion of the overall population.
Children constituted 48.5 percent of the total population in 1970. It decreased to 41.8 percent in 1990 and was down to 28 percent in 2018.
According to population projections, the child population is being expected to be 23.3 percent in 2040, 20.4 percent in 2060, and 19 percent in 2080.
The southeastern province of Şanlıurfa had the highest proportion of children in 2020 at 45.3 percent, followed by the southeastern province of Şırnak at 42.8 percent and the eastern province of Ağrı at 40.9 percent.
The three provinces with the lowest proportion of children were the eastern province of Tunceli with 17.3 percent, the northwestern provinces of Edirne with 18.1 percent and Kırklareli with 18.7 percent.
The report said the number of live births was 1.18 million in 2020, and boys dominated live births at 51 percent.
The proportion of legal child marriages for girls aged between 16 and 17 within the total legal marriages dropped from 7.2 percent in 2002 to 2.7 percent in 2020, the report noted.
Turkey has started an awareness campaign in recent years to prevent families from marrying off their children at an early age.
Statistics also showed that one out of every two babies was delivered by C-section, a figure that worries health authorities seeking to promote natural births.
While the net rate of enrollment in school at the lower secondary school level was 97.7 percent, school enrollment for children at age 5 was 75.1 percent in the 2019-2020 school year.
The net schooling ratio at the primary school level was 93.6 percent last year, the institute noted, adding that there was no significant difference between girls and boys.
While the labor force participation rate in the 15-17 cohort was 16.2 percent in 2020, this ratio was 23.4 percent for boys and 8.6 percent for girls.
Another statistic in the report also delves into the most popular names for boys and girls in 2020.
The most popular choices of names for boys were “Yusuf,” “Eymen” and “Mustafa,” and for girls were “Zeynep,” “Asel” and “Elif” in 2020, according to the report.
The name “Yusuf” is cited as a prophet’s name (Joseph) in the Islamic holy book of Quran and other scriptures, while the name “Zeynep” symbolizes the name of the daughter of Mohammed, the prophet of Islam religion.