Decline in women fertility in Orissa

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Bhubaneswar, Oct 23: The fertility rate of Orissa woman is on a declining trend, a report said. The desire for more children is affected by women's number of sons, education, wealth and the increasing use of contraceptives, a report of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3), conducted by the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry, said.

The fertility rate per women in the state has decreased from 2.9 children per woman in 1992 to 2.5 children in 1998 and 2.4 children in 2005.

The fertility rate of the state is also slightly lower than the all India fertility rate average of 2.7 children per woman, the report said.

The survey was based on a sample collection of 3,910 households and interview of 4,540 women in the age group of 15 to 49 and 1,592 men in the age group of 15 to 54 to arrive at the conclusion.

The report further says nearly 70 per cent women in the age group of 15 to 49 have preferred to sterilize themselves after having two children.

As many as 44 per cent women and 40 per cent men, who want a child, prefer to wait for two years before having another child.

Bihar has the distinction of the highest fertility rate with four children per woman followed by Uttar Pradesh and Meghalaya (3.8) each and Nagaland (3.7).

Andhra Pradesh, Goa and Tamil Nadu have the lowest fertility rate with 1.8 children per woman followed by Kerala and Himachal Pradesh with 1.9 each. Punjab and Sikkim are in the third position with a fertility rate of two children per woman. In Orissa on an average, more than one third of women in the age group of 20 to 24 get married before the legal minimum age of 18 and 22 per cent of men in the age group of 25 to 29 get married before the legal minimum age of 21.

The fertility rate of ST women in the state is highest with 3.1 children per woman.

The survey says wealth and education play an important role in deciding the fertility rate.

While the fertility rate of women with no education is 3.1 children per woman, women with ten or more years of education have 1.9 children per woman on an average.

Similarly, while the fertility rate among the women in the lowest income group is three children per woman, the per woman fertility rate among women in the highest income group is only 1.6 children per woman.

At least 51 per cent of the married women in the age group of 15 to 49 use contraceptives in Orissa. The use of contraceptives and family planning methods is less among the women in ST,lowest income group, Christian women and women with no education, the report says.

UNI

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