India’s massive fertility gradient

27 Comments


I’m pretty sure I’ve posted this map before. It’s not surprising, as it shows fertility differences across the nation.

But, what I just realized is that the fertility rate gradient between West Bengal and Bihar is one of the largest in the world. Bihar’s TFR is about 3.3, West Bengal’s 1.6. For comparison, Mexico has a TFR of 2.1, and the USA 1.7. Yemen has a TFR of 4.0, and Saudi Arabia 2.5. Perhaps analogous are Iran and Pakistan. TFR’s of 1.7 and 3.5, respectively.

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27 Replies to “India’s massive fertility gradient”

  1. Lots of people flock from eastern UP, Bihar to Delhi, Punjab ,Haryana and work hard for their livelihood. Most of them are Rikshawallas other include masons, maids (women) and manual labourers , farmers (Not landowners ) etc .
    Also they are known as purvanchals ( people from east) basically Eastern UP and mainly bihar.
    They also have a tendency to practice child marriage (most of the women are married before 18- 19 years of age ) and the women have lots of kids and the cycle continues.
    I have heard from our maid that she’s going to marry her daughter at age of 16 years (which is illegal) but she said that’s normal in her Village (near begusarai) and in order to do so they have to bribe the police.
    The habit of eating Paan regularly is one that I will not understand . If this because of any genes . There are some other tribes in south-east asia and pacific that tend to have similarities like betel-nut addiction.
    Also Biharis tend to be hardworking people because they have to work to the country to function as smoothly as its functioning.
    Surprised to see the TFR of bengal so less and western Rajasthan so high.
    Last to all I will conclude that the future of india will be in hand of biharis as their TFR will still be higher than others in the years to come.

    1. “Most of them are Rikshawallas other include masons, maids (women) and manual labourers , farmers (Not landowners ) etc .”
      “Last to all I will conclude that the future of india will be in hand of biharis as their TFR will still be higher than others in the years to come.”

      Which caste do they belong? Various castes or some specific castes? Also, are they mainly bhojpuri speakers?

      1. Obviously most of them will not be upper caste brahmins. Most of them are middle to lower caste and yes they speak bhojpuri.

        1. I know they won’t be brahmin, but there are non-brahmin upper-caste too, like Kayastha or Rajput who are genetically not much different than OBC groups. Bihar has 41% OBC population(Yadav, Kurmi, Koeri, etc.); accordingly, the future of India will be in the hands of these communities.

        2. I know they won’t be brahmin, but there are non-brahmin upper-caste too, like Kayastha or Rajput who are genetically not much different than OBC groups. Bihar has 41% OBC population(Yadav, Kurmi, Koeri, etc.); accordingly, the future of India will be in the hands of these communities.

      2. Not considered is the totally Sudra country, Sri Lanka. Then the cline becomes obvious.

        The more AASI percentage of the population, better the HDI, TFR etc.

        Of course, Sri Lanka has the advantage of being totally Sudra, and none of the Varna Dharma to lay the rules.

        Yeah, Sri Lanka may not have Nobel prize* winner etc, but we in SL have better equality etc.

        Plot, population percentage of AASI vs HDI, Literacy etc, becomes very obvious. Correct for legislators AASI percentage (compared to population AASI) the relationship probably will be exponential.

  2. “Surprised to see the TFR of bengal so less and western Rajasthan so high”

    high TFR of western raajsthan is only in two border districts – jaisalmer and barmer. it is migration from pak, both hindu as well as muslim. this area will soon come into BJP’s focus as they try to painstakingly separate “good” migrants vs “bad” migrants.

    1. the very Western parts of Western Rajasthan also have a substantial Muslim population (perhaps Muslim majority)..That might be a factor too

    2. I think Rajasthan is too fractured caste wise to really have a Hindu-muslim issue.

      Anyway i see BJP in Rajasthan similar to their situation in Karnataka. A once in a generation leader (Raje, Yedurupa) being able to challenge the Congress because they belonged to the right mix of caste. There is hardly anyone in the BJP’s 2nd rung who can really unseat the Congress once these leaders leave.

      1. Thanks for sharing DaThang, interesting the different regional representations, didn’t think it would even make the top 10, but nice to see Kerala punching above it’s weight in the Air Force (Funny enough at least here in the US it is considered the most “laid back” of the armed service, lol).

        1. IDK about the proper functionality of these branches of the military in the sense of their psychological approach. Could you elucidate the issue if possible? Like how do they function differently as far as their general thought process is concerned?

          1. @DaThang

            Years ago I listened to someone enlisted in the (USA) army complain how the (USA) air force guys slept in later than the army guys who had to be up before the crack of dawn, while the air force guys got sleep as late as 7 or 8 am during certain parts of their training. There were other things along those lines, like even better food, basically “grass is always greener” complaints. Funny enough never heard a air force enlisted disagree, if anything they enjoyed playing it up with grand embellishments of how good they had it. 🙂

          2. So for all of these seemingly additional facilities, I would assume that the air force guys would be expected to have a rarer skill set than what would be expected of a soldier in the army. Would this be a correct assertion?

  3. Sothrern states signed up to Family Planning in the 1960s and have by and large been successful in that. The result; less population growth and they send less representatives to Lok Sabha and they are penalised for carrying out government’s declared family planning policy.

  4. India’s state wide representation at the Union level have been frozen since 50s. No state has got more or less than what was originally given. If it would have been dependent on pops growth , N-India would have already got more seats than what has been allocated.
    Tamil Nadu still has extra 15 seats than MP with lower population.

  5. This map/data can be matched with this LiveMint Article about how India will have a highly staggered Demographic Dividend across different States.

    Meaning about half a dozen states will have their DD end in about a decade. But the mainstream discourse and hype/self-stroking is about the National Average, which is skewed by a few North Central States only. This isn’t a good thing, India isn’t like China that it will just readily accept mass migration to the tune of 100-500 Million across state lines.
    Not much is written on this. It could end up not being a negative but even then not much positive is written on it, it is just a non-story.

  6. I would be curious to find out about fertility rates by different muslim Sampradayas such as:
    —Sufi
    ——Chistie
    ——Qadiri
    ——Nund Rishi Kashmiri
    ——Shirdi Sai Baba
    ———other Maharashtra Sufi orders such as Janardan Swami
    ——Kabir
    ——Nanak Panthi Sufi (Sikh tilted Sufi)
    —twelver (obviously a large percentage of Indian twelvers are also Sufi, so there is a dual counting issue)
    —sixer (obviously a large percentage of Indian sixers are also Sufi, so there is a dual counting issue)
    —Ahmedi (are many Ahmedis Sufi?)
    —muslims who self identify as atheist or ex (I think ex-muslim is more a non-Indian phenomenon with most Indian muslims choosing to identify as atheist . . . but correct me if I am incorrect)
    —muslims who self identify as liberal muslims
    —conservative Sunnis
    ——Deobondi conservative (not all Deobondi are conservative . . . some are Sufi and are allied with the BJP)
    ——Salafi
    ———Wahhabi

    It would be great to get similar granular data by nonmuslim sampradaya. There are thousands of nonmuslim sampradayas in India and it is hard to sort them too much. But some big clusters of clusters of sampradayas might be:
    —Zorastrian
    —Jewish
    —Christian
    ——Syriac
    ———St. Thomas
    ——Roman Catholic
    ——Anglican
    . . . . getting tired of typing
    —scores or more Indian Buddhist Sampradayas
    —many Indian Jain Sampradayas
    —Shankaracharya sampradayas (there are many)
    —Sri Sampradayas (there are many Ramanuja)
    —etc. (getting tired of typing again)

    I would also be curious to find out fertility rates for people who self identify as Harijans. Although I believe many people prefer to identify with their Sampradaya rather than the label “Harijan” which makes identification difficult. My understanding is that in India most Hindu Harijans greatly prefer the Harijan label to the Dalit label. With some Ambedkar atheist secular Buddhists being an exception.

    Similarly I would love to see fertility breakdowns by STs, SCs, and OBCs.

    Wonder if any data sets like this exist?

  7. Ghazal number 3

    That beautiful Shirazi Turk, took control and my heart stole,
    I’ll give Samarkand & Bukhara, for her Hindu beauty mole.
    O wine-bearer bring me wine, such wine not found in Heavens
    By running brooks, in flowery fields, spend your days and stroll.
    Alas, these sweet gypsy clowns, these agitators of our town
    Took the patience of my heart, like looting Turks take their toll.
    Such unfinished love as ours, the Beloved has no need,
    For the Perfect Beauty, frills and adornments play no role.
    I came to know Joseph’s goodness, that daily would increase
    Even the chaste Mistress succumbed to the love she would extol.
    Whether profane or even cursed, I’ll reply only in praise
    Sweetness of tongue and the lips, even bitterness would enthrall.
    Heed the advice of the wise, make your most endeared goal,
    The fortunate blessed youth, listen to the old wise soul.
    Tell tales of song and wine, seek not secrets of the world,
    None has found and no-one will, knowledge leaves this riddle whole.
    You composed poems and sang, Hafiz, you spent your days well
    Venus wedded to your songs, in the firmaments’ inverted bowl.

    88~108
    amity 4ever only ever amongst r own: charity begins @ home.

    8 words that matter:
    Wretched existence in perpetuity for enemies of Afghanistan.

    Loy Afghanistan

    Scythian milkVeggie foodstuffs are Superior.

  8. This may sound strange, but Sri Lanka is the only country in the region with a rising fertility rate. According to the Census on Population and Housing report released in 2012, the “Government in its population policy statement issued in 1991, set… a TFR (Total Fertility Rate) of 2.1, to be achieved by the year 2000.” As of 1998, Sri Lanka’s TFR was 1.9, making it the only country in the South Asian region to “achieve the level of replacement fertility before the end of last century, and ahead of the targeted time frame.” Oddly enough, ever since 1998, Sri Lanka’s fertility rate has been on the rise, reaching 2.3 in 2005 and 2.4 in 2011. Before we can ask why, however, let’s take a look at what the fertility rate really means.

    https://roar.media/english/life/reports/why-sri-lankas-fertility-rate-is-on-the-rise/

  9. i believe there is also a “hidden” gradient in india’s fertility stats. upper caste fertility is falling significantly behind that of lower castes.

    i say this with some personal observation. in my siblings and cousin’s generation, we have on average just one child per couple. (i belong to a hindu upper caste. can’t reveal more than that). there are more ancestral houses than people to live in them. ancestral houses in native villages lying locked and practically abandoned.

    also, i am sure there is an urban/rural gradient in fertility too. urbal population may be swelling, but i bet the urban fertility is much lower than rural fertility.

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