The determinants of household level fertility in India

Author name: 
Raghbendra Jha

Using NSS data for 1993-94 and 2004-05 this paper highlights the impact of growing incomes, social and household decisions of households, and regional and ethnic factors on patterns of household level fertility in India. These have helped determine the composition of India’s young (aged 9 to 34) today. Demographic transition is well underway in India with rising incomes associated with fewer children and smaller family size. The number of women in the childbearing age group significantly affects the number of children. Households with more women in the age group 26-35 have more children, are more likely to have children than not having them as well as having larger family size, ceteris paribus. Average education of females lowers household size whereas (instrumented) shares of expenditure on education and health have varying effects. The impact of a household being SC or ST varies by year and by the regression model chosen. Over both time periods Muslim households have more children and are more likely than the general population to have larger family sizes. Households in BIMARU states have more children and have larger family sizes as do urban households. Thus demographic transition has occurred unevenly across various groups in India.

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