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Vital Statistics 2020: number of death records increases by 14.9% and number of birth records decreases by 4.7%

November 18, 2021 10h00 AM | Last Updated: November 20, 2021 08h32 PM

The number of death records in Brazil in 2020 reached 1,513,575. Considering only deaths with known sex and age information, the total was of 1,510,068 deaths, with an annual rate of 14.9%, or 195,965 more deaths than in 2019. Both in percent and in absolute figures, that was the biggest increase since 1984. The percent increase of deaths among men (16.7%) surpassed that of women (12.7%). Most deaths were registered among persons aged 60 and over. Deaths of persons under 20 years of age decreased between 2019 and 2020.

About 73.5% of the deaths in 2020 took place in hospitals; 20.7% in the housing unit and 5.8% in another place or were not reported. Also, 99.2% of the 195,965 additional deaths from 2019 to 2020, were due to natural causes.

The number of marriage records in Brazil recorded a decrease of 26.1% between 2019 and 2020 (from 1,024,676 to 757,179), biggest decrease in the time series. The movement of decrease has been observed, every year, since 2016, but in2020 that variable was affected by social distancing due to the pandemic.

From the total marriage records, 6,433 were of same-sex couples, a decrease of 29.0% against 2019. Marriages between female partners made up 60.1% of civil marriages in this type of arrangement.

Number of birth records fell by 4.7% from 2019 to 2020

From 2000 to 2020, the proportion of birth registers in the case of mothers under 30 fell from 76.1% to 62.1%. Birth registers of mothers aged 30 and over increased from 24.0% to 37.9%.

In 2019, estimated birth under-reporting was of 2.1%, with a decrease of 2.4% against 2018. Underreporting of deaths reached 3.8%, against 4.0% in 2018.

All these data come from Vital Statistics, a survey that investigates records of births, marriages and deaths in civil registry offices.

Brazilian women had fewer children in 2020

In 2020, there was a decrease of 4.7% in the number of birth registers, after a decrease of 3.0% in 2019. There were 2,728,273 birth registers in 2020 and, from that total, 2,678,992 refer to children born in 2020 and registered up to Q1 2021. About 2% (49 281) had been born in previous years or had an unknown year of birth.

All the Major Regions recorded decreases, with results above the national average in the North (-6.8%) and Northeast (-5.3%) and equals to or below that figure in the Central West (-4.7%), Southeast (-4.3%), and South (-3.1%). Among the Federation Units, Amapá recorded the biggest decrease (-14.1%), followed by Roraima (-12.5%), Acre (-10.0%) and Amazonas (-7.4%).

Between 2019 and 2020, the number of live male births fell from 1,438,275 to 1,371,445, whereas that of live female births fell from 1,373,485 to 1,307,018, but still keeping the ratio of 105 boys to 100 girls. The biggest differences were observed in Acre and in Roraima with a ratio of 107 to 100, followed by Sergipe, Paraná and Mato Grosso, with a ratio of 106 boys to 100 girls.

Number of marriages fell by 26.1% against 2019, biggest decrease in the series

In 2020, there were 757,179 civil marriage records, a decrease of 26.1% against the previous year. From that total, 6,433 were between same-sex couples. Since 2015, the number of marriages has been decreasing, but the decline in 2020 seems to be closely related to the social distancing measures adopted due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The number of marriages registered in civil registry offices fell in all the Major Regions, mainly in the Northeast (27.8%) Central West (27.7%) and Southeast (27.3%)

Civil marriages between same sex persons, after the outstanding increase of 61.7% in 2018, recorded an increase of 4.9% in 2019 (9,056) and of 29.0% in 2020 (6,433). That was the biggest percent decrease of marriages in the series. Marriages between female partners represented 60.1% of the records of such family arrangement in 2020.

In all the Major Regions, the number of civil marriages between same-sex persons, in 2020, was smaller than in 2019. The Southeast (31.6%) and South (29.6%) accounted for the main decreases in number of civil marriages of this kind.

In Brazil, for each one thousand residents at marrying age, 4.5 persons had a legal marriage in 2020, against 6.2 in 2019. That was the lowest marriage rate in the series (per one thousand persons aged 15 and over). The difference between the average ages of spouses, in marriages of single persons of different sexes is of approximately 2 years: men got married at the age of 30, on the average, and women, at 28. That is a homogeneous behavior among the Major Regions, with average ages ranging between 30.0 to 32.1 years of age, among men and between 27.6 and 29.1 years of age among women.

As for civil marriages among same-sex persons, the average age of marriage was approximately 34 for men and 32 for women.

Proportion of births of mothers aged 30 and over reached 37.9%

In the last two decades, there was a structural change in the age women have children. In 2000, birth records of mothers under 30 years of age made up 76.1% of the total and fell to 62.1% in 2020. Birth records of mothers aged 30 to 39 reached 34.2% those of mothers over 40, 3.7%.

Distribution of births taking place in the year, by age group of the mother (%) - Brazil - 2000-2020

In 2000, in 21.6% of the births, mothers were under 20 years of age. In 2020, this group under 20 fell to 13.4%. Among persons 30 to 39, there was an increase from 22.0%, in 2000, to 34.2% in 2020.

The North Region had the biggest proportion of young mothers: 19.5% of the birth records in 2020 were from mothers aged under 20.

Deaths of elderly persons rose 16.3% between 2019 and 2020

The total number of death reports in Brazil in 2020 was 1,513,575. Considering records with known sex and age, the total deaths went from 1,314,103 in 2019 to 1,510,068 in 2020, which means 195,965 more deaths in one year, or an increase of 14.9% in the period. This annual change was significantly above all the figures previously observed in Vital Statistics, since 1984. Between 2018 and 2019, for example, the change had been 2.7%. Also, more than 99% of the 195,965 additional deaths in 2020 were due to natural causes, a classification that includes deaths caused by diseases, including Covid-19.

Increase prevailed among persons aged 60 and over, which represented 75.8% of the change in the year. In this age group, there was an increase of 16.3% (148,561 more) deaths in 2020, against a decrease of 4.5%, from 2018 to 2019. In the group aged 15 to 59, the increase was of 14.9% in 2020, versus a decrease of 1.2% in the previous two years.

The total number of deaths of persons aged 15 fell by 15.1% in 2020 against 2019. From 2018 to 2019, deaths in this age group fell by only 1.0%.

The number of deaths of those under one year of age recorded the biggest decrease: 13.9% (4,190 deaths less) in the period, against a decrease of 1.6% from 2018 to 2019 (490 deaths less). Among children aged 1 to 4, the decrease was of 23.7% (1,326 deaths), against an increase of 1.5% between 2018 and 2019.

Excess male mortality among youngsters remains at 9.5

Among deaths taking place in 2020, 73.5% took place in the hospital, 20.7% in the housing unit and in 5.8% of the cases there was no information or another place of occurrence was reported.

The increase in the number of deaths from 2019 to 2020 was relatively bigger among men (16.7%) than women (12.7%). Male mortality is usually above female mortality throughout life in vital statistics time series.

For deaths due to natural causes, deaths of men and women aged 20 to 24 were 2.1 times bigger that those of women in the same age group. Among persons aged 75 to 79, which has a majority of women, excess male mortality falls to 1.2 times female deaths.

Considering deaths to external or non-natural causes (homicides, suicides, car accidents, drowning, falling off, etc.), excess mortality increases among adults. In 2018, in the group 20-24 years of age, excess mortality was 10.7 times female excess mortality. In 2019, that figure fell to 9.6, and, in 2020, it was leveled off (9.5).

North Region recorded highest percentage of deaths

All the Major Regions recorded a significant increase in the number of deaths. The biggest increases were those in the North (25.9%) and Central West (20.4%). The Northeast (16.8%) was also above the national average (14.9). The Southeast (14.3%) and South followed (7.5%). Amazonas recorded the biggest increase among all the states: 31.9%, versus an increase of 4.7%, between 2018 and 2019. Pará (27.9) and Mato Grosso (27.0%) followed.

The decrease of deaths of persons aged 15 and over took place in all the Major regions in 2020, being most significant in the South (-17.2%) and least in the Central West (-12.2%). Among persons aged 15-59, these major Regions also stood out: Central West with the biggest increase (19.1%) and the Southeast with the smallest increase (8.2%).

In the population aged 60 and over, men accounted the biggest increases, with percentages way above the figures of 2018 and 2019, with a highlight to the North Region (35.6%), with percentages of 39.9% and 30.1% for men and women, respectively. The smallest increases took place in the South (8.1%), 10.5% and 5.6%, form men and women, respectively.

Underreporting of births fell by 2.1 percentage points from 2015 to 2019

The estimated underreporting of births stayed at 2.1%, with a decrease of 2.1 percentage points since 2015 (4.2%). In 2016, the estimated figure was 3.2%; in 2017, 2.6%, and, in 2018, 2.4%. Therefore, 97.9% of the births taking place in 2019 were registered in the same year or up to Q1 2020.

The underreporting estimate reached 3.8% in 2019, and recorded a decrease against 2018 (4.0%); 96.2% of the deaths that took place in were registered in the same year or up to Q1 2020. In 2015, the estimated underreporting of deaths was 4.9%.

Law no. 6,015, of 31.12.1973, establishes that the register can be postponed for up to three months after birth whenever the place of birth of the child or the place of residence of the moths is more than 30 km far from the registry office headquarters. For that reason, the IBGE says that birth and death must include registers of up to the third month in the following year.

The IBGE adopted, last year, a new methodology in order to measure underreporting of birth relative to Years 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and now, 2019. The new methodology is not comparable with the previous one, whose time series was ended in 2014.