Context: Health indicator details were released by the Centre recently in its Sample Registration System (SRS) bulletin based on data collected for 2018.

More about the findings:

  • According to the data released by the Registrar General of India following are the national health indicators of India



National birth rate


National death rate


Infant Mortality rate (IMR)


  • Disparities among the states:
    • The data shows that against the national infant mortality rate (IMR) of 32, Madhya Pradesh has the worst infant mortality rate(IMR)of 48, and Nagaland has the best IMR of 4.
    • Bihar has the highest birth rate at 26.2 and Andaman and Nicobar Islands has the lowest birth rate of 11.2.
    • Chhattisgarh has the highest death rate at 8 on the other hand Delhi has the lowest rate of 3.3, indicating better healthcare facilities.

Analyzing the data

  • The data largely reflects past trends as far as the position of states is concerned with marginal improvements at the national level on health indices.
  • Death rates:
    • The death rate of India has witnessed a significant decline over the last four decades from 14.9 in 1971 to 6.2 in 2018.
    • The decline has been steeper in rural areas.
  • Infant Mortality rate (IMR):
    • The present figure of 32 is about one-fourth as compared to 1971 (129).
    • In the last 10 years, IMR has witnessed a decline of about 35 percent in rural areas and about 32 percent in urban areas. 
    • The IMR at an all-India level has declined from 50 to 32 in the last decade.
  • Birth Rates:
    • India’s birth rate has declined drastically over the last four decades from 36.9 in 1971 to 20.0 in 2018. 
    • The rural-urban differential has also narrowed. However, the birth rate has continued to be higher in rural areas compared to urban areas in the last four decades. 
    • There has been about an 11 percent decline in the birth rate in the last decade, from 22.5 in 2009 to 20.0 in 2018. 
    • The corresponding decline in rural areas is 24.1 to 21.6, and in urban areas, it is 18.3 to 16.7.




Birth Rate

Birth Rate is the term used to define the number of babies born every year per 1000 people in a population.

Birth rate is a crude measure of fertility of a population and a crucial determinant of population growth. 


Death Rate

Death Rate is the term used to define the number of deaths every year per 1000 people in a population.

Mortality is one of the basic components of population change and the related data is essential for demographic studies and public health administration. 

Infant Mortality rate (IMR)

IMR is the number of deaths per 1,000 live births of children under one year of age. 

The rate for a given region is the number of children dying under one year of age, divided by the number of live births during the year, multiplied by 1,000.


About Sample Registration System (SRS)

  • It is a demographic survey for providing reliable annual estimates of infant mortality rate, birth rate, death rate, and other fertility and mortality indicators at the national and sub-national levels.
  • Initiated on a pilot basis by the Registrar General of India in a few states in 1964-65, it became fully operational during 1969-70.
  • The field investigation consists of 
    • Continuous enumeration of births and deaths in selected sample units by resident part-time enumerators, generally Anganwadi workers and teachers;
    • and an independent retrospective survey every six months by SRS supervisors. 
      • The data obtained by these two independent functionaries are matched ultimately.

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