Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed a sharp decline in the Total Fertility Rate (TFR), which is the average number of children born to a woman during her lifetime, the latest data released by the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) India showed on Wednesday.
As per the survey conducted from 2019 till this year, the lowest fertility rate stands at 1.4 in Jammu and Kashmir and the decline is mainly witnessed in the urban areas as compared to rural areas of the erstwhile state.
The key findings of the survey were released by Dr VK Paul from NITI Aayog and Rajesh Bhushan, secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
In rural areas of JK, the data shows the rate declined from 2.2 in 2015-2016 to 1.5 in 2019-2020, and now the latest survey (2019-2021) shows a sharp decline.
The economists believe that the decline in the fertility rates will have a serious impact on the economic and social life of Jammu and Kashmir.
In India, the data shows, the fertility rate has for the first time fallen below replacement levels.
India’s rate is now 2, which is below replacement levels. For India, the replacement level, where the population theoretically remains the same in the next generation, is 2.1.
Further, the TFR is 2.1 in rural areas and 1.6 in urban areas of India. However, the replacement fertility rate varies country-wise, depending upon factors like mortality rate and child mortality rate. In poor and developing countries, where child mortality rates are high, the TFR for replacement levels is slightly higher.
Only 3 states, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Jharkhand now have a TFR that is above replacement levels, at 3, 2.4, and 2.3 respectively.
From the previous assessment, states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, UP, and Bihar have shown a significant decline in the TFR levels, causing the dip.
However, Kerala and Tamilnadu are the only states of India where fertility rates went up since the last assessment. In NFHS-4, Kerala and Punjab had the lowest fertility rates at 1.6, while TN had 1.7
In the NFHS-5, Kerala is still the state with one of the lowest fertility rates, though it has slightly increased from its own levels. It now has a TFR of 1.8, the same as Tamil Nadu.
Among the states, Sikkim has the lowest TFR at 1.1. Sikkim’s TFR is now the same as South Korea, the country that has the lowest fertility rate in the world.
In general, Asia’s TFR is just 2.15, barely above the replacement levels. Among Asian nations, Nepal has TFR of 1.9 while Bangladesh’ is the same as India at 2.
In the world, Africa and Oceania have the highest TFR, at 4.4 and 2.9 respectively. In Africa, Niger has the highest TFR of 6.9 while Somalia has a TFR of 6.1.
Apart from Africa and Oceania, all other geographic regions in the world have achieved TFR of replacement level or less.
As per United Nations, India’s population had peaked in the 1980s and the population growth has been declining ever since.