Total fertility rate dips in India; find out what it is and how it is calculated

The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) has declined from 2.2 children per woman in 2015-16 to 2.0 children per woman in 2019-21,  the fifth National Family Health Survey, conducted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, revealed.

“The TFR has declined noticeably in India over time. Between 1992-93 and 2019-21, the TFR declined from 3.4 children to 2.0 children (a decrease of 1.4 children). The TFR among women in rural areas has declined from 3.7 children in 1992-93 to 2.1 children in 2019-21. The corresponding decline among women in urban areas was from 2.7 children in 1992-93 to 1.6 children in 2019-21,” the survey stated.

According to NFHS-5, the current fertility rate is slightly lower than the replacement level of fertility of 2.1 children per woman.

What is fertility rate?

The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) in a specific year or set of years is defined as the average number of children a hypothetical cohort of women would have at the end of their reproductive period provided they were to live to the end of their child-bearing years and give birth to children with the prevailing age-specific fertility rates, World Health Organization (WHO) states.

Replacement level fertility, on the other hand, is the level of fertility at which a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next. In most countries, it can be taken as requiring an average of 2.1 children per woman.

How is TFR calculated?

It is determined by the sum of age-specific fertility rates (usually referring to women aged 15 to 49 years), or five times the sum if data are given in five-year age groups, according to WHO.

“An age- or age-group-specific fertility rate is calculated as the ratio of annual births to women at a given age or age-group to the population of women at the same age or age-group, in the same year, for a given country, territory, or geographic area.”

To estimate TFR, population data is taken from the most recent United Nations Population Division’s ‘World Population Prospects’. Unit of measure is — children per woman.

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