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Birth rate falls, fertility rate remains unchanged

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Assam’s Population

GUWAHATI, June 26: At a time when Dispur is executing a policy to control population explosion in the State, the National Health Profile 2018 has revealed that the birth rate in Assam has declined between 2014 and 2016.
The official birth rate of Assam was 22.4 in 2014. But the latest the National Health Profile has revealed that the birth rate came down to 22 in 2015 and to 21.7 in 2016. The country’s birth rate came down from 21 in 2014 to 20.8 in 2015 and then to 20.4 in 2016.

Birth rate is defined as the number of live births per 1,000 of the population per year. The latest report while citing data of the National Commission on Population said the average birth rate of Assam will be 16.6 by 2025 as against national average of 16.

The Assam Government last year adopted a policy to arrest the State population’s burgeoning growth through socio-economic and health interventions. It has also decided to stick to the two-child norm as a yardstick for anybody wanting to contest Assembly elections. Pointing out that Assam’s population has increased to 3.12 crore (2011 Census) from 2.66 crore (2001 Census), the policy argued that decadal growth of population at 17.07 per cent is unsustainable for the State.

As per the 2011 census, Assam’s population stands at 3.12 crore. The National Health Profile 2018 has projected that by 2026 the State’s population will be 3.44 crore.

The report said during 2015 and 2016, Assam’s total fertility rate, the average number of children that will be born to a woman during her lifetime, remained unchanged and equal to the national average. The rate was 2.3.

In 12 States, the rate fell below two children per woman and nine states have reached replacements levels of 2.1 and above. Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Bengal have the lowest fertility rate among other countries. “Fertility is declining rapidly, including among the poor and unlettered,” the report said.

The report has also pointed out that encephalitis continued to be a cause of concern for Assam with maximum number of encephalitis cases were reported from it (5525) during 2017. Altogether 42 people (37 male and five female) lost their lives because of encephalitis.