Factors Affecting Population Growth

Socio-economic development

  • The overarching factor that affects population growth is low socio-economic development. (Link literacy and population rates- TFR). For example, Uttar Pradesh has a literacy rate of 56%; only 14% of the women receive complete antenatal care. Uttar Pradesh records an average of four children per couple.
  • In contrast, in Kerala, almost every person is literate and almost every woman receives antenatal care. Kerala records an average of two children per couple.

Infant mortality

  • In 1961, the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), deaths of infants per 1000 live births, was 115. The current all-India average is much lower at 57. However, in most developed countries this figure is less than 5.
  • IMR is the lowest at 15 in Kerala and the highest at 73 in Uttar Pradesh. Empirical correlations suggest that high IMR leads to a greater desire for children.

Early marriage

Nationwide almost 43% of married women aged 20-24 were married before 18. This figure is as high as 68% in Bihar. Not only does early marriage increase the likelihood of more children, but it also puts the woman’s health at risk.

Level of education

The fertility rate usually declines with an increase in the education levels of women, this can be seen in the case of Kerala and Bihar literacy rate of Kerala is more than 90% and the fertility rate is 1.7 while the literacy rate of Bihar is near 70% and the fertility rate is 3.2.

Use of contraceptives

 Temporary vs Permanent- According to NFHS III (2005-06), only 56% of currently married women use some method of family planning in India. Most (37%) have adopted permanent methods like sterilization.

Other socio-economic factors

The desire for larger families particularly the preference for a male child also leads to higher birth rates. It is estimated that preference for a male child and high infant mortality together account for 20% of the total births in the country.

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