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Late marriage fallout: J&K among four states, UTs with lowest fertility rate among men, women

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir has the fourth-lowest Total Fertility Rate (TFR) among men and women in the country.

National Family Health Survey-5 has revealed that TFR in Jammu and Kashmir, which was 2 children per women in 2015-16, has declined to 1.4 in 2019-20. 

 

With this decline, Jammu and Kashmir rank among the four states and Union Territories with the lowest TFR.

The TFR is defined as the average number of children that would be born to a woman by the time she ends childbearing. TFR is considered one of the most important indicators of fertility.

Experts claim that the social, economic factors coupled with changing food habits have contributed to increasing infertility among men and women in Jammu and Kashmir.

TFR, as per the survey, has witnessed a decline more in urban areas of Jammu and Kashmir. It has reduced from 1.6 in 2015-16 to 1.2 in 2019-20.

In rural Jammu and Kashmir, the TFR has declined to 1.5 in 2019-20 from 2.2 in 2015-16.

According to the factsheet compiled by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Sikkim (1.1) Andaman and Nicobar Islands (1.3), Goa (1.3), Ladakh(1.3), Jammu and Kashmir(1.4), and Lakshadweep(1.4) reported a TFR of less than 1.5  children per woman.

Bihar, according to the survey, has the highest TFR of 3 children per woman, which in 2015-16 was 3.4 children per woman.

Kerala is the only state which experiences an increase in TFR to 1.8 in 2019-20 from 1.6 in 2015-16.

Dr. Rahila Yousuf, a consultant gynecologist, said the fertility among the men and women is on a decline due to current social, economic scenario and living patterns.

“There is not a single factor responsible for infertility. Right now what we see is that social reasons like the shift in the marriageable age are leading to infertility among men and women. When a person’s age crosses 30, the fertility starts declining,” she said.

Dr. Rahila said the economic factors and increased stress levels among men and women too affect their reproductive capability.

“Many of the men and women don’t get married because of financial problems. Even stress is a common problem mostly among men, which leads to such problems. Even we have seen that some infectious diseases like Tuberculosis also affects one’s reproductive health,” she said.

Dr. Rahila said that a certain proportion of men and women are able to produce children only after medical intervention.

“Food habits need to be changed. A person’s preference should be a healthy diet rather than junk food. Similarly one has to get married before 30 besides taking good care of his lifestyle,” Dr. Rahila said.