India's fertility rate drops to 2. What does it mean?
India's Total Fertility Rate (TFR) has dropped from 2.2 to 2. TFR is the average number of children a woman gives birth to in her lifetime. The country's Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) has risen from 54% to 67%, according to the Phase-2 data of the fifth edition of National Family Health Survey released on Wednesday. Here are more details on this.
Why does this story matter?
The NFHS data indicates the country's population is finally stabilizing. A TFR of 2.1 is considered the replacement rate. It means a woman and her partner will be replaced by their children upon their death implying no overall change in the population. Under the fourth edition of the survey conducted between 2015 and 2016, the TFR was 2.2.
Survey done between 2019 and 2021
The latest round of survey was carried out by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare between 2019 and 2021 in two phases. In the second phase, states that were surveyed included Arunachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, National Capital Territory of Delhi, Odisha, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand.
Most surveyed states achieved replacement level
Besides Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, and Uttar Pradesh, all the other states that were surveyed in the said phase have achieved the replacement level. Meanwhile, the CPR has increased from 54% to 67% at the national level. It refers to the proportion of women of reproductive age who are using at least one method of contraception or birth control.
Experts say the data is encouraging
"Data from the survey would help the government achieve Universal Health Coverage," said Dr. VK Paul, NITI Aayog (Health) member. "India has for long been working on population control...The encouraging results that we see now are due to sustained, concerted efforts put together by the Centre and the state governments," a government official said, according to Hindustan Times.
Anemia and obesity are on the rise
However, the survey data also reveals that anemia and obesity are on the rise across India. The number of anemic children aged under five rose from 58.6% to 67.1% while the same indicator among women increased from 53.1% to 57%. Meanwhile, the number of obese women jumped from 20.6% to 24% and the number of obese men from 18.9% to 22.9%.