Introduction : Fertility And Morality

The crude birth rate (CBR) was 44.9 in 1971 and steadily declined to 32.4 in 1998. In rural areas, the CBR declined from 46.3 to 34.6 and in urban areas from 34.7 to 27.9 during the same period (SRS, 1998). The total fertility rate, which is the number of children a woman would have on an average in her reproductive life, has been estimated to be over six until 1979 and declined rapidly to 4.3 in 1997-98. There are substantial rural-urban differences with regard to the total fertility rate. The age-specific pattern of fertility reveals a peak in the age group of 20-24 years for both urban and rural areas. The majority of births (56 percent) are of third or higher order. A large proportion of these births is unwanted, as reported by mothers themselves, and could have been avoided.

The death rate declined sharply over the same period of time. The crude death rate estimated for the state was 20.1 in 1971 and declined to 10.3 in 1997. In rural areas the death rate declined from 21.1 to 10.7 and in urban areas from 13.1 to 8.2 (SRS, 1998). Much of this decline was due to sharp declines in the infant mortality rate, particularly after 1990. The infant mortality rate for the state was 182 per 1,000 live births in 1971 and declined to 114 in 1990 and further declined to 85 in 1997 (SRS, 1998). Nearly two-thirds of infant deaths are during the neonatal period.

The child mortality rate that was 60.7 in 1986 declined to 39.2 in 1996 (NFHS II). As a result of the sharp decline in mortality rates, the life expectancy at birth increased from 43 in 1970-75 to 57 years in 1992-96. The life expectancy at birth was 45.4 for males and 40.5 for females in 1970-75 and increased to 57.7 for males and 56.4 for females in 1992-96 (SRS, 1998). During this period, the life expectancy at birth for males increased by 27 percent and for females, by 39 percent indicating the improving status of women in the state.

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