For the first time in recorded history, India has more women than men i.e the sex ratio has become more balanced. Further, the survey of 65,000 households shows that the population is no longer in a boom. Carried out between 2019 and 2021, the fifth National Family and Health Survey (NFHS) found India now has 1,020 women for every 1,000 men. The survey analysed population, reproductive and child health, family welfare, nutrition and other health-related areas.
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The survey showcased that the reproductive rate has dropped to an average of two children. This is a significant shift from the 1960s when the number of average children was six. In urban areas, the rate is even lower at 1.6. A low reproductive rate means that not enough children are being born to replace the elderly population. This translates that the Indian population of 1.4 billion is close to its peak.
The analysis however shows that 13 states and union territories in the country continue to have more men than women.
Despite the progress that the survey predicts, the gender ratio (929 women for every 1,000 men) at birth is still imbalanced towards women. This indicates that female foeticide or sex-selected abortions have not yet been eliminated. A clear picture of the sex ratio would become apparent by the next census (which was due in 2021 but is currently postponed). The WHO estimates a sex ratio of 952.
According to the survey, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Bihar and Maharashtra saw a worsening in the sex ratio. While, states like Karnataka, Haryana, Gujarat, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh saw an improvement in sex ratio.
It is also observed that states with greater access to sex selection technologies have a worse sex ratio. By the government’s NFHS-5, 88.6 per cent of the births in the east years were derived in a health facility. This is a major improvement from the 78.9 per cent since the NFHS-4. It is proof that India is moving towards achieving universal institutional births. It would improve the maternal and infant mortality rate in India. The birth registration for children under the age of five years is also up.
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