Family health survey suggests more women than men in India

The fifth edition of the National Family Health Survey confirmed signs of a demographic shift in the country.

The fifth edition of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) confirmed signs of a demographic shift in India. For the first time since the NFHS began in 1992, the proportion of women exceeded men: there were 1,020 women for 1,000 men. In the last edition of the survey in 2015-16, there were 991 women for every 1,000 men.

Only the decadal census is considered the official marker of population trends in India and have a wider surveillance programme. The NFHS surveys are smaller but are conducted at the district level and are a pointer to the future.

 

However, sex ratio at birth for children born in the last five years only improved from 919 per 1,000 males in 2015-16 to 929 per 1,000, underscoring that boys, on average, continued to have better odds of survival than girls.

Most States and Union Territories (UTs) had more women than men, the NFHS-5 shows. States that had fewer women than men included Gujarat, Maharashtra, Arunachal Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Union territories such as Jammu & Kashmir, Chandigarh, Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar islands, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Ladakh.

All of these States and UTs, however, showed improvements in the population increase of women.

A State-wise breakup of the NFHS data also shows that India is on its way to stabilising its population, with most States and UTs having a Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of less than two. A TFR of less than 2.1, or a woman on average bearing two children over a lifetime, suggests that an existing generation of a people will be exactly replaced. Anything less than two suggests an eventual decline in population over time. Only six States: Bihar, Meghalaya, Manipur, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh have a TFR above two. Bihar has a TFR of three which, however, is an improvement from the 3.4 of the NFHS-4. Again, much like the broader trend towards feminisation, the TFR in all States has improved in the last five years.

India is still poised to be the most populous country in the world with the current projection by the United Nations population division forecasting that India’s population will peak around 1.6 to 1.8 billion from 2040-2050.

A Government report last year projected that India would overtake China as the world’s most populous country around 2031 — almost a decade later than the United Nations projection of 2022.

A notable exception is Kerala, a State with among the highest ratios of women to men at 1,121 and improvement over 1,049 recorded in the NFHS-4. However the TFR in Kerala has increased to 1.8 from 1.6. The State has also reported a decline in the sex ratio of children born in the last five years. There are 1,047 females per 1,000 males in 2015-16 that has now declined to 951 per 1,000 males.

The findings of NFHS-5 from 22 States & UTs covered in Phase-I were released in December 2020 and the remaining comprising Arunachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, NCT of Delhi, Odisha, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand were made public on Wednesday.

The NFHS-5 survey work has been conducted in around 6.1 lakh sample households from 707 districts (as on March, 2017) of the country; covering 724,115 women and 101,839 men to provide disaggregated estimates up to district level.

State TFR-5 TFR-4 SR-5 SR-4
A&N 1.3 1.4 963 977
AP 1.7 1.8 1045 1021
Assam 1.9 2.2 1012 993
Bihar 3 3.4 1090 1062
D&N 1.8 2.1 827 813
Goa 1.3 1.7 1027 1018
Gujarat 1.9 2 965 950
HP 1.7 1.9 1040 1078
J&K 1.4 2 948 971
Karnataka 1.7 1.8 1034 979
Kerala 1.8 1.6 1121 1049
Lakshadweep 1.4 1.8 1187 1022
Ladakh 1.3 2.3 971 1000
Maharashtra 1.7 1.9 966 952
Meghalaya 2.9 3 1039 1005
Manipur 2.2 2.6 1066 1049
Mizoram 1.9 2.3 1018 1012
Nagaland 1.7 2.7 1007 968
Sikkim 1.1 1.2 990 942
Telangana 1.8 1.8 1049 1007
Tripura 1.7 1.7 1011 998
WB 1.6 1.8 1049 1007
Arunachal 1.82 2.1 997 958
Chattisgarh 1.82 2.2 1015 1019
Haryana 1.9 2.1 926 876
Jharkhand 2.3 2.6 1050 1002
MP 2 2.3 970 948
Odisha 1.8 2.1 1063 1036
Punjab 1.6 1.6 938 905
Rajasthan 2 2.4 1009 973
TN 1.8 1.7 1088 1033
UP 2.4 2.7 1017 995
Uttarakhand 1.9 2.1 1016 1015
Chandigarh 1.4 1.6 917 934
Delhi 1.6 1.8 913 854
Puduchery 1.5 1.7 1112 1068

TFR is total fertility rate, and SR is sex ratio. The ‘4’ and ‘5’ refer to NFHS-4 and NFHS-5 respectively.

Source

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