Number of registered deaths down
Johannesburg - The number of deaths registered in 2009 dropped by 3.8% from 2008 with tuberculosis the main cause of death by natural causes, Statistics SA said on Wednesday.
This was followed by influenza and pneumonia, with HIV/Aids seventh.
By category, the leading cause of death by natural causes for children under the age of 15 was intestinal infectious diseases.
This was according to the Statistics SA report: "Mortality and Causes of Death in South Africa 2009".
Among infants and children, 7.6% died of malnutrition.
The researchers found that 6.6% of deaths occurred within the first year of life, down from 7.7% in 2008.
Lowest percentage of deaths
The highest number of deaths was among those aged 30 to 34 (8.6%), 35 to 39 (8.5%) and 40 to 44 (7.6%).
The lowest percentage of deaths was among those aged 5 to 9 and 10 to 14 years (0.8% each).
People aged 90 and over accounted for 2.9% of deaths.
There were slightly more male (51.4%) than female deaths (48.4%) in 2009.
The absolute number of deaths shows that female deaths exceeded male deaths in the age groups 20 to 29 and 70 and older age groups.
The highest percentage of male deaths was among those aged 35 to 39 (9.3%), 30 to 34 (8.4%) and 40 to 44 (8.4%).
For female deaths, the highest percentage was among those aged 30 to 34 (8.6%), 35 to 39 (8%) and 25 to 29 (7.7%).
Nearly half had never been married
About 6.9% of male and 6.2% of female deaths were of children under one.
The lowest percentage of all deaths was among 5 to 14 year olds.
Most deaths were of blacks (61.7%) and the fewest of Indians or Asians (1.3%). Whites accounted for 6.3% and coloureds 4.4%. This distribution was similar to previous years.
Researchers warned that the population group figures be treated with caution as the population group of more than a quarter (26.2%) of the people who died was unspecified.
Nearly half (47.1%) of those who died had never been married.
About a quarter (24.3%) were married or living with a partner, while 8.3% were widowed and 1.6% were divorced.
The lowest percentage of deaths was in the Northern Cape (2.6%).
The Western Cape had the highest percentage of deaths of people aged 65 and older.
The number of deaths processed by Stats SA was 572 673, compared with 595 152 registered deaths in 2008.