Fertility Trends in North-East India

By P. Thongkhanthang

Fertility has been declining in all the states with the pace of decline varying according to their level of fertility. It is evident from the data sources that the fertility rate in the region, on an average, has declined faster during NFHS-1 to NFHS2, but slower during NFHS-2 to NFHS-3, and the TFR in rural areas has declined at slower pace than the urban counterparts over the same period. Given the variations in fertility levels and slow pace in declining trend within the North-East, this study suggests that there are large pockets of the population where people have little motivation towards small family and/or have poor access to quality family planning services and modern contraceptives. This demographic problem cannot be addressed in isolation without paying equal attention to general improvement in social and economic conditions along with increasing affordable access to good quality reproductive health services for all. This article uses published data from Census of India, Sample Registration System and National Family Health Survey (NFHS), several time series are compiled: crude birth rates from 1970s and fertility rates from the 1990s.

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