NFHS-5 data shows literacy and delivery of services, not religion, influences fertility

What is the News?

The National Family Health Survey(NFHS-5) has released data on the Total Fertility Rate(TFR) in India.

What does NFHS-5 say about the Total Fertility Rate(TFR) in India?

Total Fertility Rate(TFR): India’s total fertility rate(TFR) has declined from 2.2 in 2015-16 to 2.0 in 2019-21.

Note: The TFR is the average number of children born to a woman in her lifetime. TFR of 2.1 is considered the replacement level fertility rate at which population stability is achieved.

Regional Variations in TFR: There are wide inter-regional variations with five states namely Bihar (2.98), Meghalaya (2.91), Uttar Pradesh (2.35), Jharkhand (2.26) and Manipur (2.17)  still not achieving a replacement level of fertility of 2.1.

Religion wise TFR: All religious communities have shown a decline in fertility. But the fall has been sharpest in the Muslim community from 4.4 in NFHS 1(1992-93) to 2.3 in NFHS 5(2019-2021).

– However, the Muslim community’s TFR still remains the highest among all religious communities with the Hindu community’s fertility rate of 1.94, the Christian community has a fertility rate of 1.88, the Sikh community at 1.61, the Jain community at 1.6 and Buddhist and neo-Buddhist community at 1.39.

Reason for Fertility gap between Communities: The fertility gap between communities is narrowing. But high fertility is mostly a result of non-religious factors such as levels of literacy, employment, income and access to health services. Muslims are most disadvantaged on these parameters.

Importance of Education in TFR: The number of children per woman declined with women’s level of schooling. Women with no schooling have an average of 2.8 children compared with 1.8 children for women with 12 or more years of schooling. 

Family Planning: The survey has highlighted the male attitude towards family planning. They tend to put the onus for birth control on women. For instance, as many as 35% of men believe that using contraceptives is a woman’s responsibility. They ignore the fact that male vasectomy is a much simpler procedure than female tubectomy.

Source: The post is based on the article “NFHS-5 data shows literacy and delivery of services, not religion, influences fertility” published in Indian Express on 11th May 2022.

Print Friendly and PDF