Context: According to the new data from the Sample Registration System (SRS) for 2018, Gujarat has now joined 13 other states at or below-replacement fertility.

Key findings of Sample Registration System (SRS) for 2018

  • India’s TFR now stands at 2.2.
  • State Wise disparities
    • There is a wide gap in TFR between southern states, which have better education and health outcomes, and they have also long reached replacement fertility.
    • On the other hand, the northern states are still some way off to achieve this goal.
  • Age-Specific fertility rates
    • Age-specific fertility rates refer to the number of children born to women in a particular age group per 1,000 women in that age group.
    • As the average number of children in a family has declined, the age at which women are giving birth has moved up.
    • In urban areas, the age-specific fertility rates have declined for women below 30, and gone up for women over 30.
    • All over the country, age-specific fertility rates have declined across all age groups except for women in their early 30s, who have seen a rise in age-specific fertility rates.
  • Other indicators
    • This is also the first time in five years that a fall in fertility rates has not been accompanied by a fall in the sex ratio at birth.
    • After five years of declining sex ratios at birth, there has been only a small uptick in the sex ratio.
  • Poor performance of Bihar
    • Bihar is now the only Indian state where a woman as of 2018 was likely to have over three children in her lifetime.
    • Among states that have not yet reached replacement fertility, Bihar had also one of the slowest reductions for any state over the last 10 years.
    • There has been poor performance in Bihar on not just family planning, but all of the allied areas that affect family size—women’s health, girls’ education, access to contraception.

Source: Mint

Meaning of TFR below replacement rates

  • There is still a large cohort of young children, the number of girls who will go on to have children remains large, even if they go on to have fewer children. 
  • That means that the TFR reaching the replacement level of 2.1 does not mean that populations will decline immediately. 
  • For example, the southern states, especially Tamil Nadu and Kerala, have been at replacement levels for 15-20 years. However, it will still take another 10 years before their populations start to decline.
  • It is being predicted that India as a whole will only see a population decline after 2060.

Need for State-specific policies

  • Many north Indian states have shown poor performance in TFR rates here focus should be on not just family planning, but all of the allied areas that affect family size i.e women’s health, girls’ education, access to contraception.
  • On the other hand, rising aging in the south Indian states is being neglected. There is a need for them to now wind up their family planning effort and focus on aging instead.


Few important details

Sample Registration System (SRS)

  • The SRS is a large-scale household survey, the representative at the level of big states, used by India to measure indicators relating to births, deaths, and fertility.

Total fertility rate(TFR)

  • TFR refers to the total number of children born or likely to be born to a woman in her lifetime if she were subject to the prevailing rate of age-specific fertility in the population.

Total replacement fertility

  • A country is said to have reached replacement fertility when its total fertility rate (TFR) drops to 2.1.
  • This value represents the average number of children a woman would need to have to reproduce herself by bearing a daughter who survives to childbearing age
  • It is a level that indicates that the population will stop growing, and only replace itself over time. 
  • A TFR of 2.1 is considered to be an important milestone for developing countries seeking to slow down their population growth.

Source: Mint