According to the 2017 National Family Health Survey, issued earlier this week by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Indians have maintained their population on average, at just about replacement levels.
The number of births – the typical amount of kids a woman bears – is decreasing. If the number goes below around 2.1, the population begins to shrink. Women had an aggregate of 4.7 children throughout their lives in 1950. Furthermore, economic and educational considerations have caused women and couples to postpone getting pregnant. The present low fertility/birth rates have been exacerbated by a lack of cheap housing, adaptable and part-time job opportunities for women, and affordably priced and publicly sponsored (free) care for children.
With India’s birth rate (children per woman) falling from 2.2 to two between 2015-16 and 2019-21, we may be witnessing a demographic transition toward an elderly generation. The birth rate in India has gone below the UN Population Division’s replacement level population of 2.1. While a decrease in fertility is a good thing, it does not always imply a decrease in population. Over the same time span (1950 to the present), the world’s population has tripled. TFR basically means the number of children per family, but as the number of families increases, so does the population. According to a 2020 research published in The Lancet by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), advancements in female educational attainment and access to contraception are the key factors to fertility drop.
Reasons For Declining Fertility
The reasons and solutions differ per country, although certain generalizations may be drawn. Very low fertility appears to be connected with the continuance of a male-dominated traditional family paired with economics that gives huge benefits to women who do not have kids in Southern and Western Europe and East Asia. Children are expensive to parents, particularly moms, in this atmosphere. Financial stress appears to be especially crucial in Eastern Europe and certain less developed nations in terms of people’s goals and child-rearing expenditures. Finally, the world economy’s entrepreneurship education encourages self-investment rather than engagement in others.
According to population experts, this shift is caused by shifting lifestyles as well as personal decisions, as well as government health programs. The institutional delivery system has improved as a result of the National Health Mission, resulting in a decrease in newborn mortality. Fertility rates have decreased as a result of many people embracing the two-child rule in order to benefit from government programs.
Newborn and under-five survival rates have decreased from 40.7 to 35.2 and 49.7 to 41.9, respectively. Nevertheless, this has no effect on the predicted replacement level fertility. The number of women marrying before the age of 18 has decreased, but the proportion of women opting not to marry and divorces has increased. As a result, the fertility rate is decreasing. With a total fertility rate of 2, the population is likely to stabilize sooner than expected, and we will confront the same significant problem of heavy reliance that China is facing now in a decade and a half.
Fertility specialists also stated that a decreased fertility rate is suggestive of acute modern circumstances. Lifestyle, occupation, late marriage, and egg freezing to guarantee healthy birth later are all factors contributing to the present low fertility rate. It came about as a result of Western influence, literacy, and progressive views.
Disadvantages Of Declining Fertility
University education, higher mobility, later marriage, independently wealthy women, and general wealth all contribute to a declining TFR. It falls below 2 in both urban and rural regions where females complete high school and fall further when they graduate from college. TFR may reduce further as new cities are built, people travel for work, and employment duration shortens.
The difficulty with reduced birth rates is that it affects population size exclusively among the young. Low fertility provides an age structure that accelerates future population decrease, a circumstance that must be reversed at some point if the community is to be socio-economically viable. When the fertility rate falls below the replacement level, the population ages and diminishes, slowing economic growth and putting pressure on government resources. A declining population also reduces the rate of creativity, because change is more likely to originate from younger employees and entrepreneurs. Stress on one’s mental health. Population reduction may be detrimental to a population’s psychological health (or mood) if it results in a prolonged recession and a corresponding decline in essential amenities and facilities.
As a result, the government must design policies to capitalize on the chance. It must also develop strategies to address rising medical expenditures as the populace ages and productivity declines. As more individuals live away from their families, India will require an inexpensive social security system that gives pensions to the elderly while also covering their daily necessities and medical bills.
Can Declining Fertility Be Reversed?
The reversal of low fertility entails a new social compact in which individuals who have kids are not affected by poverty. The following policies are useable:
- Promoting parental leave following the birth of a kid
- Supporting the sharing of vacation time
- Allowing workers to work part-time with the option of returning to a full-time job
- Offering high-quality, low-cost child care, including after-school care
- Acknowledging children’s expenses in the taxation system
These policies would encourage family-friendly companies that assist rather than penalize employees with youngsters.
Declining Fertility – A Boon
A somewhat low birth rate, according to one research, suggests that families do not have to extend their money to raise their children. This allows families in wealthy nations to retain their quality of living, even as the population ages. The present low fertility/birth rates have been exacerbated by a lack of cheap housing, flexible and part-time job opportunities for women, and cheap and publicly sponsored (free) child care.
Bigger health consciousness among women, child spacing, improved nutrition, medical treatment, connectedness, ambition for education, and upward mobility for offspring have all had a significant impact. Too many mouths to feed may not be India’s future threat. Today, we have an excess of grain production. Warehousing, inventory control, and distribution must all be improved. Currently, there is a lot of waste, which is exacerbated by obligatory MSPs in many cases, resulting in unsuitable water-intensive crops like rice and sugarcane being cultivated in excess. MSPs impair market economics, yet few people are concerned about this.
Although India is a major exporter of food grains, the quality is subpar. Water, including irrigation water, groundwater, and precipitation, is under tremendous strain. Similarly, farmers frequently do not pay for power. This isn’t going to get any better as more people in urban and manufacturing areas want more and more. India is presently the world’s largest producer of milk, cereal, grains, veggies, fruit, textiles, sugarcane, fisheries, poultry, and cattle. However, there are simply too many unemployed farmers. Landholdings are minuscule.
NFHS Survey 2021 Report
According to the most recent NFHS survey 2021, 60 % of the inhabitants will remain rural in 2036, despite the overall population decline. This is not a cheerful statistic for the twenty-first century. With just 4% of its population of roughly 334 million stable for decades, the United States operates its productive mechanized farms, albeit subsidized.
However, India’s growth in population has now steadied without the need for severe restrictions such as China’s One-Child Policy. However, it requires a downward trend in the lowest obtained thus far, which is just 1.6. In the 75 years after independence, India’s population has more than tripled to 1.39 billion. This already accounts for 17.7 percent of the worldwide population. This proportion will rise unless our own population slowdown is hastened. The idea of a good level of life, as achieved in industrialized nations, can only be realized with a significant increase in per capita income. Life expectancy has increased dramatically. The death toll has decreased. Millions of people have been pulled out of poverty.
Wolves of the wild have recovered derelict settlements in nations in Europe with modest 20th-century populations in the first place and zero population growth for decades since. The norm is immigration from impoverished, sometimes war-torn nations like Syria. However, this produces societal schisms, religious tensions, and cultural shocks. However, this is not going to be India’s concern. However, as the population grows, so will the tension between adherents of different faiths, cultural practices, and language variety. People will live side by side as urban India has the biggest population rise. With resources continually outstripping demand, life will become considerably more competitive. So let us hope that the positive news about reducing population is a case of a job well begun is a job half done.
Few Final Words
All data suggests that if family members, communities, societies, and nations must cope with a high number of dependents, resources that could be used to drive society, the economy, and so on are diverted. The issue of an older population also needed to be addressed, not least since the technology to assist dependents was improving while people were living longer lives in excellent health. It is far simpler to enable older folks to remain highly skilled, fit, and active, and in the labor force than it is to tell women, “Oh, you must have kids.” Indeed, women’s empowerment may have a greater impact on a country’s total fertility rate than pro-natalist.
In countries that allow women to work and have children, the number of children per woman will likely increase from none to two [every woman]. The wealthy in prosperous cultures may choose to spend more.