For the first time in recorded history, India’s Total Fertility Rate (TFR) has fallen below replacement level, meaning the countries’ people are no longer producing children fast enough to replace the past generation and the net population growth will be negative.
The finding, which was part of the National Family Health Survey released this week, is a huge milestone for India and its ongoing struggle against the rapidly growing population, which is set to overtake China as the most populous within the decade.
The TFR represents the average number of births per woman, and for reference, the UK has a TFR of 1.65 while the USA maintains a 1.70. India has now hit a national record low of less than 2.0, below the replacement rate threshold of 2.1, with some regions even reporting a TFR of 1.6. While the effect will not be an immediate downswing in population, it will slow the population growth significantly.
India has been fighting population growth for decades, and public health officials have used sexual health campaigns in an effort to educate the population and increase the use of contraception. Such campaigns have had a dramatic effect, with the same survey revealing condom usage in India is up by around 3.9 percent since the last survey in 2015.
There is still work to be done, with five states in India still having a TFR of above 2.1, but the latest data suggests the campaigns are working and India may finally slow their population surge.