TOTAL FERTILITY RATE (Syllabus GS Paper 2 – Health)

News-CRUX-10     26th March 2024        

Context: A new study recently published in The Lancet reveals that India's total fertility rate (TFR), which denotes the average number of children born per woman, is projected to decline to 1.29 by 2050.

Total Fertility Rate

  • About: It represents the average number of children a hypothetical cohort of women would have by the end of their reproductive years, assuming constant fertility rates and no mortality.
  • Method of Measurement: TFR is calculated by summing age-specific fertility rates, typically for women aged 15 to 49 years. These rates are obtained by dividing annual births by the population of women within specific age groups, often using data from the United Nations.
  • Replacement Level Fertility Rate: The Replacement Level Fertility Rate is set slightly above 2, at 2.1, to factor in childhood mortality and the possibility of some women not bearing children, ensuring population replacement across generations.
  • UN Population Projections: The United Nations employs TFR and other metrics to forecast future population trends, anticipating growth in nations with high TFRs and stabilization or decline in those with decreasing rates.
  • Key Indicators for India in NFHS-5: India's National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) furnishes essential data on fertility rates, preferences, contraceptive usage, and maternal health, offering valuable insights into demographic trends and health outcomes.

Global Trends in Total Fertility Rate (TFR)

  • Significant Global Decline: According to the Global Burden of Disease, Injuries and Risk Factors Study (GBD)-2021, the worldwide Total Fertility Rate (TFR) has decreased by more than half over the last 70 years, from approximately five children per woman in 1950 to 2.2 children in 2021.
  • TFR Reduction in India: In India, the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) was 6.18 in 1950, which decreased to 4.60 in 1980 and further dropped to 1.91 in 2021, indicating a substantial decline over the decades.
  • Demographic Challenges in China: China is grappling with the demographic challenge of an aging population, a consequence of its declining Total Fertility Rate (TFR), which has implications for its workforce and social systems.
  • India's Direction: India appears to be moving towards a similar demographic trajectory as China, with its declining TFR suggesting a future of demographic aging, potentially posing challenges for its economy and social structure.
  • Combined Impact of India and China: Together, India and China represent more than a third of the world's population, highlighting the significant global implications of their demographic shifts and aging populations.