Editorial Notes

[Editorial Notes] Declining Fertility and Demographic Dividend

A concerted policy to harness the demographic dividend is the need of the hour.
By IASToppers
August 07, 2019


  • Introduction
  • IT’s Input
  • Factors affecting fall in the TFR
  • Current demographic scenario in India
  • Fertility rates in Urban and Rural area as per Sample Registration System (SRS) 2017 survey
  • Divergence in demographic patterns across states
  • How to utilize the upcoming demographic dividend?
  • Conclusion

Declining Fertility and Demographic Dividend

For IASToppers’ Editorial Simplified Archive, click here




  • Demographic transition has two components, that of fertility and mortality transition.
  • It is fertility transition that plays a decisive role in determining the demographic dividend of any population.
  • The steady decline in the total fertility rate (TFR) has been the main driver of the slowing down of population growth in India in the recent decades.

IT’s Input:

What is Total Fertility Rate (TFR)?

  • TRF is an indicator of the average number of children expected to be born to a woman during her reproductive span.

demographic_transition IASToppers

  • As per United Nation, TFR of about 1 children per woman is called Replacement-level fertility.
  • According to Sample Registration System (SRS), the total fertility rate (TFR) declined to an all-time low of2 in 2017 in India.

Factors affecting fall in the TFR:

  • Increasing mobility
  • Delayed marriage
  • Access to higher education
  • Greater financial independence of women


Current demographic scenario in India:

  • The high fertility states have also recorded a sharp decline in the TFR. It has declined to 2 per woman in the 22 major states in 2017.
  • However, due to the skewed sex ratio, the required replacement-level fertility (effective replacement-level fertility) is higher than the benchmark of 2.1.
  • Also, there is considerable heterogeneity across states as well as rural and urban areas with regard to fertility, mortality, and age structure.


Fertility rates in Urban and Rural area as per Sample Registration System (SRS) 2017 survey:

  • Even though fertility rates fell across all age groups, fertility in the older age groups has risen over time in urban
  • While in the rural areas, the fertility rates in the higher age groups, that is, among mothers aged above 35 has fallen.
  • In urban areas, fertility has been falling faster than expected. As of 2017, the TFR of urban India has fallen to 1.7.
  • The fertility rates of urban areas of all states, except for Bihar, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, are either at the replacement level or below it.
  • Also, for 10 states, the TFR is below 2 in rural areas which shows the overall trend of falling female fertility rates.

rural-urban-IASToppersRole of woman education in fertility rates:

  • Education has a major role to play with regard to fertility rates among women.
  • In urban areas, fertility rates among women in their 30s are higher among the better educated than the less educated women.
  • This is because better educated women have been able to delay marriage and childbirth and access to better healthcare facilities enables women to have children at a later age.

Divergence in demographic patterns across states:

  • In near future years, the growth rate of the working population will be higher than the general population which points to the advantage of the demographic dividend in India.
  • However, due to the divergence in demographic patterns across India, the demographic dividend window is available at different times as the age structures differ across the states.
  • Normally, the demographic dividend can last for 40 to 50 years and countries can benefit only if they can use it effectively.
  • According to the United Nations Population Fund, in the southern and western parts, the demographic dividend is set to close in five years, whereas in some states it would remain open for 10 to 15 years.
  • On the other hand, in the high fertility states of the north, it is yet to open.
  • Thus, due to the differences in the patterns in demographic transition across states, India has the advantage of a longer span of the demographic dividend.

How to utilize the upcoming demographic dividend?

  • The benefits of the demographic dividend can be reaped by sufficient investments in basic infrastructure, health, educational attainment, and skill upgradation of the workforce.
  • Hence, it is necessary that people in the working age are gainfully employed and with having proper education and skills.


  • As the population growth is set for a slowdown, an increase in the share of the working age population points to the advantage of the demographic dividend in India.
  • However, it is equally important to note the current unemployment rate (6.1%) is at a 45-year high showing that the enough jobs are not available.
  • Also, the poor employability shows the deficiencies in health, educational attainments and vocational training of the workforce.
  • Hence, there is need to tackle these issues and take advantage of the demographic dividend on emergency basis.


Mains 2020 Editorial Notes Popular

IT on Facebook

Facebook Pagelike Widget


Calendar Archive

September 2020
« Aug