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Total fertility rate falls below two children per woman in 12 states, reaches replacement levels in 9 others
Indians are choosing to have fewer children. That is the conclusion arrived at in latest government figures released recently.
On June 19, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda released the National Health Profile (NHP)-2018 prepared by the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence (CBHI). The NHP covers demographic, socio-economic, health status and health finance indicators, along with comprehensive information on health infrastructure and human resources in health.
While there were surprises throughout the report, one of the most startling ones came in the context of fertility levels. “Fertility” means the actual bearing of children during a woman’s reproductive period i.e. roughly from 15 to 45, a period of 30 years. The number of live births during a year per 1,000 female population aged 15-49 years at the midpoint of the same year is the fertility rate. The number of children that would be born per woman, assuming no female mortality at childbearing age and the age-specific fertility rates of a specified country and reference period is the Total Fertility Rate (TFR).
The NHP mentions that as per the SRS Statistical Report of 2016 by the Registrar General of India, the TFR in 12 India states has fallen below two children per woman. These include Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttarakhand and West Bengal.
Also as per the SRS Report of 2016, the TFR in 9 states has reached replacement levels of 2.1 and above. These include Assam, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Rajasthan.
Delhi, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal have the lowest fertility as per the report. However, the two big states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are still to reach replacement levels. The TFR for Bihar in 2016 was 3.3, while for Uttar Pradesh, it was 3.1.
The TFR for India as a whole was 2.3 whereas in rural areas it was 2.5. In urban areas, it was even lower at 1.8.
“Fertility is declining rapidly, including among the poor and illiterate,” the report concluded.
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