One of the boons for India in recent times is “Falling Fertility Rate”. Though this is a boon for India the reasons behind this falling fertility rate should be understood. I read one article about falling fertility rate globally in Indian Express today. The reasons written there were apt for global view but were somewhat less as compared to India. So I thought of enlisting some more reasons those are responsible for falling of fertility rate in India.
1) For almost all of the 20th Century (that is 1900-2000) an average single family wanted a baby boy instead of baby girl. So they had babies till they bore baby boy. This was until 1970’s. The in-laws were also particular about having baby boy than baby girl. This caused a huge difference and acted as catalyst in rising the fertility rate.
According to a book “Population in Asia” by Warren C. Sanderson and Jee Peng Tan,
in 1980-1988 fertility rate in India fell from 4.4 BPM (Births Per Mother) to 4.0 BPM. Again in 1988-1991, fertility rate fell from 4.0 BPM to 3.6 BPM. Thus on as average, the total fertility rate fell by 0.05 births per year between 1980-88, and more than twice as fast, 0.13 births per year between 1988-91.
Thus we can see that as the mindset has changed towards having any baby than particular baby boy. Thus taking the fertility rate further down to current 2.72.
2) People in India are becoming more career oriented now-a-days. So they are happy with even a single child so as to balance their work and family life. Even a single baby is enough for them to take care of.
3) As economy is emerging fast and its becoming hard to cope up with the pace of economic boom and competition, people are more and more drifting towards the mindset of having less children.
4) With increasing stress and work load, health of people is deteriorating rapidly making them physically less fit to bear more than 2 children. Not that they are expected to bear more than 2 children, but they find themselves incompetent. Less physical capacity and aftermaths of having a child has made it more complex thus dragging the fertility rate down.
5) In India, education is becoming more of a premium thing than the basic need. With even nursery schools asking payment up to Rs. 20, 000 and more per year, education seems to be for privileged only. It’s becoming more and more difficult for parents to educate their children and that too in some good school and college. That’s why current mantra of parent’s is “Less the number of children, more is the probability of educating them properly” thus bringing the fertility rate further down.
6) Also marriage of a daughter is becoming an one-time affair unlike in the past. So people think of making it more valuable and memorable. So “Less the number of children (especially girl) the more the probability of making her marriage more valuable and memorable.” This can also be one of the reason why the fertility rate in India is falling down.
These are some of the reasons of dropping fertility rate in India. Well the dropping fertility rate is really a boon and as people say “Nature takes care of it’s balance”, nature here is taking care of rising population.
Currently India is at 82nd number with rate at 2.72 BPM.
The rival China is at 157th number with rate at 1.79 BPM.
The fertility rate in India has reached to Replacement Rate so I reckon this rate should continue with a slight modification on the negative side.