India’s total fertility rate drops from 2.2 to 2.0, reveals NFHS-5 report

In Kerala, nearly 100 per cent of the births were institutional births. Only 46 per cent of the births in Nagaland were institutional births, according to PRS…reports Asian Lite News

India’s total fertility rate (TFR) has declined from 2.2 in 2015-16 to 2.0 in 2019-21, indicating the significant progress of population control measures, revealed the report of the fifth round of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5).

The TFR is the average number of children born to a woman in her lifetime. The governments set targets for TFR for the purpose of population control. TFR of 2.1 is considered the replacement level fertility rate at which population stability is achieved.

According to the report, India has made significant progress in population control measures in recent times with the TFR, but there are wide inter-regional variations with five states still not having achieved a replacement level of fertility of 2.1. Bihar (2.98), Meghalaya (2.91), Uttar Pradesh (2.35), Jharkhand (2.26) and Manipur (2.17) are the five states, according to the NFHS-5 conducted from 2019-21.

The NFHS-5 survey was conducted in around 6.37 lakh sample households from 707 districts (as on March 2017) of the country from 28 states and 8 UTs, covering 7,24,115 women and 1,01,839 men to provide disaggregated estimates up to the district level.

In seven states, more than 90 per cent of the births in the last five years were institutional births. In Kerala, nearly 100 per cent of the births were institutional births. Only 46 per cent of the births in Nagaland were institutional births, according to PRS.

Institutional births increased by a maximum of 27 percentage points in Arunachal Pradesh, followed by over 10 percentage points in Assam, Bihar, Meghalaya, Chhattisgarh, Nagaland, Manipur, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.

Stunting or chronic malnutrition (low height with respect to age) has increased in 11 of the 17 states. Children who are stunted or wasted are more vulnerable to diseases and illness.

As per the survey, stunting is higher among children in rural areas (37 per cent) than in urban areas (30 per cent) in 2019-21. Variation in stunting ranges from the lowest in Puducherry (20 per cent) and highest in Meghalaya (47 per cent).

A notable decrease in stunting was observed in Haryana, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Sikkim (7 percentage points each), Jharkhand, and Madhya Pradesh and Manipur (6 percentage points each), and Chandigarh and Bihar (5 percentage points each).

The report also found that the neonatal mortality rate declined from 49 deaths per 1,000 live births in the five years before the 1992-93 NFHS survey to 25 deaths per 1,000 live births in the five years before the 2019-21 NFHS survey.

The neonatal mortality rates in the five years before the 1998-99 survey, 2005-06 survey, and the 2015-16 survey were 43, 39, and 30 deaths per 1,000 live births, respectively.

The infant mortality rate declined from 79 deaths per 1,000 live births in the five years before the 1992-93 NFHS survey to 35 deaths per 1,000 live births in the five years before the 2019-21 NFHS survey.

During the same period, the under-five mortality rate declined from 109 deaths per 1,000 live births to 42 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Assam has seen one of the largest drops in the infant mortality rate, from 48 deaths (per 1,000 live births) to 32 deaths. The infant mortality rate remains high in Bihar (47 deaths per 1,000 live births).

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