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Fertility rate in India drops by 19% in 10 yrs

April 1, 2012
India’s total fertility rate (TFR) – the average number of children expected to be born per woman during her reproductive years – has fallen by19% over the past decade. Among bigger states, the percentage decline in TFRduring this period the last decade varied from as high as 28% in Punjab to 5.6%in Kerala.

Maharashtra saw the second highest dip in TFR between 2000-2010 at 26.9%, followed by Haryana and Andhra Pradesh (25%), Uttar Pradesh (23%), Rajasthan (22%), Himachal Pradesh and West Bengal (21%).

The latest Sample Registration System 2010data finalized by the Registrar General of India and sent to the Union health ministry on Saturday says India’s TFR, which had remained stagnant in 2008 and 2009 at 2.6, finally has dropped by 0.1 points in 2010. India’s TFR now stands at 2.5 as against a TFR of 3.2 in 2000. Education has been found to play a major role in determining TFR.

On average, an illiterate woman in India is bearing 1.2 children more than a literate woman (3.4 against 2.2). The TFR among women who have studied till at least class X was as low as 1.9. This further dips to 1.6 among women who have studied till class XII.

The link between female education and fertility is clearly brought out by the SRS data. For instance, even in Bihar, the state with the worst overall TFR of 3.7, women who are educated up to Class X or beyond have a TFR of 2.0 or less. On the other hand, even in Maharashtra, which has an overall TFR of 1.9, women who had no education had a TFR of 6.0.

According to the SRS 2010, ten states have achieved replacement level fertility of 2.1 and below. However, 10 big states still have a higher TFR than this. These include Bihar (3.7), UP (3.5), MP (3.2), Rajasthan (3.1), Jharkhand (3),Chhattisgarh (2.8), Assam and Gujarat (2.5), Haryana and Odisha (2.3). What’s worrying is that these states together account for nearly half of India’s population.

States which have recorded a dip in TFR in 2010 as against 2009 include Andhra Pradesh (1.9 to 1.8), Assam (2.6 to 2.5), Bihar (3.9 to 3.7), Chhattisgarh (3 to 2.8), Haryana (2.5 to 2.3), Himachal (1.9 to 1.8), J&K (2.2 to 2),Jharkhand (3.2 to 3), MP (3.3 to 3.2), Odisha (2.4 to 2.3), Punjab (1.9 to1.8), Rajasthan (3.3 to 3.1), UP (3.7 to 3.5) and West Bengal (1.9 to 1.8). TFR in states like Delhi (1.9), Maharashtra (1.9), Gujarat (2.5), Karnataka (2) and Tamil Nadu (1.7) has however stagnated.

Kerala is the only state which has recorded an increase in TFR – from 1.7 in 2009 to 1.8 in 2010.

According to the National Population Policy 2000, India should have reached there placement-level fertility rate of 2.1 by 2010, and ought to attain population stabilization at 145 crore by 2045. Population stabilization is when the size of the population remains unchanged. It is also called the stage of zeropopulation growth. However, India now expects to reach the population stabilization TFR of 2.1 at 165 crore by 2060. Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad recently said “We have seen a steady decline in TFR that has come down by 42% from the mid-1960s. We may see a drop of 0.1 point in the TFR, which is currently at 2.6,” Azad had said.

Categories: Public Health
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