Context: India’s population and declining total fertility rates.
More in news: Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech equated population control and patriotism: “Population explosion will cause many problems for our future generations. But there is a vigilant section of public (who)… have a small family and express their patriotism to the country. Let’s learn from them.”
- At present, India’s population stands at nearly 134 crore while China is inhabited by nearly 140 crore.
- India’s population has stressed its infrastructure, its natural resources and its administrative and educational capacity.
- However, the future trends show a decline in the population growth in India.
- As per the Economic Survey 2018-19, India is set to witness a sharp slowdown in population growth in the next two decades. Although the country as a whole will enjoy the “demographic dividend” phase, some states will start transitioning to an ageing society by the 2030s.
- According to UN’s Population division projections, the number of Indians under the age of 5 peaked in 2007. The number under 15 peaked in 20111 and is now declining. The current generation of under 25 will be the largest ever.
Total Fertility Rate (TFR):
- The total fertility rate in a specific year is defined as the total number of children that would be born to each woman if she were to live to the end of her child-bearing years and give birth to children in alignment with the prevailing age-specific fertility rates.
- It is calculated by totalling the age-specific fertility rates as defined over five-year intervals.
- Assuming no net migration and unchanged mortality, a total fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman ensures a broadly stable population.
- The government’s Sample Registration System in 22 states shows that TFR for India declined to 2.2 in 2017 after being stable at 2.3 between 2013 and 2016.
- The total fertility rate has more than halved in both urban and rural areas.
- The southern states, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, West Bengal and Maharashtra now have fertility rates well below the replacement rate.
- TFR in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are above the replacement rate but are also experiencing significant declines.
- As a result, the national TFR is expected to be below replacement level by 2021 (adjusted for the skewed gender ratio, it may already be there).
Reasons of falling TFR:
- Higher education, increased mobility, late marriage, financially independent women and overall prosperity are all contributing to a falling TFR.
- It goes below 2 in both urban and rural areas, where girls complete schooling and reduces further as they pass college.
- Bihar, with the highest TFR of 3.2, had the maximum percentage of illiterate women at 26.8%, while Kerala, where the literacy rate among women is 99.3%, had among the lowest fertility rates.
- As more cities come up, people move for jobs and employment tenure gets shorter, TFR may fall further.