With the fertility rate falling faster than expected, a 2013 survey results of a sample registration survey (SRS) conducted by registrar general showed that India will reach replacement levels by 2020 with the total fertility rate in 8 States below 2 children per woman.
The data released on Monday shows that the Total Fertility Rate or the average number of children born per woman, in eight states has fallen below two children per woman.
In nine States of the north and east, except for Gujarat, it has not reached replacements levels of 2.1, below which populations begin to decline.
West Bengal tops the list as India’s lowest fertility, with the southern States, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. Even Odisha has reduced its fertility to 2.1.
“At 2.3, India is now just 0.2 points away from reaching replacement levels. Fertility is declining rapidly, including among the poor and illiterate. At these rates, India will achieve its demographic transition and reach replacement levels as early as 2020 or 2022,” Dr. P. Arokiasamy, a demographer and Professor at the International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS), Mumbai said.
The infant mortality rate (IMR), however, less positive, though it has fallen to 40 deaths per 1,000 live births, and 49 deaths of children under the age of 5 for every 1,000 live births.
The Millenium Development Goals for 2015 are still less than that and the IMR has fallen mostly in rural areas than in urban areas.
Among metros, Chennai has the lowest IMR (16), and among states, Kerala has the best IMR at 12 deaths per 1,000 births, followed by Delhi and Maharashtra, which have IMRs twice that of Kerala.
Coming to the girl child, the higher mortality rates still remains the same for infant girls and for girls under the age of five than for boys, as agains the global trend.