TNs fertility rate increases to 1.8 in 2020-21, 1.6 in urban, 1.9 in rural areas
The matter came to light when the baby had been missing for days and the parents displayed no signs of concern, which made their neighbours suspicious. Representative photo: iStock

TN's fertility rate increases to 1.8 in 2020-21, 1.6 in urban, 1.9 in rural areas

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Tamil Nadu’s fertility rate has increased from 1.7 in 2015-16 to 1.8 in the pandemic year of 2020-21, as per the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) released on Wednesday.

The fertility rate in Tamil Nadu, like many states except Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and a few others, is less than 2.1, which is the replacement rate.

Within the state, in the rural areas, the fertility rate has increased to 1.9 per 1000 in rural areas against 1.6 in urban areas. The total fertility rate is defined as the average number of children that would be born to a woman by the time she ends childbearing.

Below-replacement fertility is defined as a combination of fertility and mortality levels that leads to a negative population growth rate, hence a declining population size.

According to population experts, in urban areas, fertility among older women has grown, as better educated women are able to delay marriage and childbirth, and improved healthcare allows women to have children later in life.

While fertility in general is lower among more educated women, there is one notable exception: in urban areas, fertility rates among women in their 30s are higher among better educated rather than less educated women.

Also read: Fertility rate drops to 2.0; anaemia still prevalent in women, children: NFHS

“Rural fertility rates are higher in many states just like Tamil Nadu. This is because in rural areas, women are married off at an early age. Their education level is also less compared to urban women and they are not in a position to delay their marriage,” said International Population Expert P. Arokiasamy.

As per the survey, only in rural areas there are more women in the age group of 15-19 who become pregnant are already mothers. “Literacy must increase in all rural areas and this will prevent young school going girls becoming pregnant or even mothers at that young age,” said Arokiasamy.

The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) fact sheet provides information on key indicators and trends for Tamil Nadu.

Due to the COVID-19 situation and the imposition of lockdown, NFHS-5 fieldwork was conducted in the states/UTs in two parts.

NFHS-5 fieldwork for Tamil Nadu was conducted from January 6, 2020 to March 21, 2020 prior to the lockdown, and from December 21, 2020 to March 31, 2021 post lockdown by School of Public Health, SRM University. Information was gathered from 27,929 households, 25,650 women, and 3,372 men.

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