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- According to conventional wisdom,the higher the educational level of a woman, the lower the total number of children she will have.
- However,the official data on the total fertility rate(TFR) or the average number of children born to a woman over her lifetime shows the connection may be more complex.
- The data shows that the culture of a state might be a greater determinant of fertility with illiterate rural women in Tamil Nadu having a lower fertility rate than urban graduates in Uttar Pradesh.
- Further,the data also shows a consistent pattern across states of illiterate women and those with no formal education having lower fertility rates than those with below primary level education.
- For instance,Bihar which is a high fertility state,the TFR of women who have not completed primary schooling is 4.4 compared to 3.7 for illiterate women.
- Similarly,in Odisha with an overall low fertility rate of just 1.9,the TFR of illiterate women was 2 compared to a TFR of 3.6-3.5 among those with primary level schooling or below.
- At the all-India level,the TFR for women with below primary education was 3.1 compared to 2.9 for illiterate women and 2.4 for those without formal education.