Turkey still has a young population structure, but its share of elderly population is increasing, a recently released survey shows.
Twenty-five percent of the population is under the age of 15, but the proportion of people age 65 and greater reached 10 percent for the first time, according to the survey conducted by Hacettepe University Institute of Population Studies.
The level of fertility has remained about the same for the last 15 years, according to the 2018 Turkey Demographic and Health Survey (2018 TDHS) released last week.
The total fertility rate for Turkey is 2.3 children per woman. Births, however, were increasingly postponed to older ages. The survey was conducted for the first time among Syrian refugees revealing a total fertility rate for Syrian women of 5.3 children.
Among Turkish women, there are regional differences: While the average number of children per women is 1.6 in the north parts of the country, for instance, it is 3.2 in eastern Anatolia.
In the last 20 years, the household size in Turkey declined from 4.5 persons to 3.5 persons. Three out of four households in Turkey are comprised of four or more individuals. Nine percent are single-person households.
The Institute of Population Studies at Hacettepe University in Ankara has been carrying out quinquennial demographic and health surveys since 1968.
The 2018 TDHS is the 11th demographic survey.
The mass survey revealed substantial improvement in registrations immediately after birth, as the percentage of unregistered children decreased from 26 percent to 2 percent in the last 20 years.
The findings also show that among people aged 6 and over, 25 percent of women and 14 percent of men have never attended school or attended primary school but never graduated from this level. The gender gap in education level is narrower among the young population and primary-secondary education levels. However, for high school or above, the disadvantaged position of women living in rural areas continues at decreasing levels.
The age of marriage for Turkish women between 25-29 years old did not change in the last 10 years. The median age at first marriage is 21. The data on early marriage shows that 5 percent of women ages 15-19 were wed. Twenty-four percent of marriages are consanguineous, meaning they occur between people who are closely related.
In Turkey, the contraceptive prevalence is 70 percent among currently married women of reproductive ages. While the use of modern contraceptive methods increased in the last five years (from 47 percent to 49 percent), the use of traditional methods decreased (from 26 percent to 21 percent). The most prevalently used modern method is condom (19 percent), and most prevalently used traditional method is withdrawal (20 percent).
The findings of the 2018 TDHS show that improvement in maternal-child indicators continues in all regions. The percentage of women who received antenatal checkups and postnatal checkups during the first 41 days after delivery is 96 percent.
Ninety-nine percent of live births in the five years preceding the survey were delivered in a health facility. More than half of the deliveries (52 percent) were by caesarean section. The survey shows that the calls from government to give natural birth have not been effective. C-section deliveries increased by 4 percent in comparison with TDHS-2013.
Six percent of children are short for their age
Six percent of children under age 5 in Turkey are short for their age, meaning their growth is stunted. Occurring as the result of chronic nutrition problems, shortness is common among children who live in rural areas (8 percent), in the East (8 percent), with low levels of household wealth (12 percent) and whose mother’s education level is low (9 percent).
In addition, the survey found that 8 percent of children are obese.
Obesity among women continues to increase.
According to the body mass index, 29 percent of women are overweight, and 30 percent of them are obese. In other words, six of every 10 women in Turkey are either overweight or obese.
Total fertility rate is 5.3 births per women.
Contraceptive prevalence rate among currently married Syrian women age 15-49 is 43 percent. About 24 percent of these use modern methods while 19 percent prefer traditional methods.
Unmet need for family planning among Syrian migrant women is 21 percent. In other words, 21 percent of Syrian migrant women living in Turkey who want to pace her pregnancy or no longer want pregnancy cannot get access to counseling or services and cannot obtain modern contraceptive methods.
By contrast, health services provided to Syrian women during and after pregnancy as well as during giving birth seem to be at satisfactory levels.
Ninety-three percent of Syrian migrant women received antenatal care from a skilled provider.
Ninety-three percent of births in the Syrian migrant population were delivered in a health facility, and 89 percent of Syrian mothers had a postnatal check within the first 41 days after birth.
By contrast, 21 percent of Syrian children are unregistered.
Seventeen percent of Syrian children under age 5 are stunted or short for their age.
Sixty percent of Syrian women are overweight or obese.