An evaluation of recent estimates of fertility trends in India

Retherford, Robert D.
Mishra, Vinod K.
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Mumbai, India: International Institute for Population Sciences and Honolulu: East-West Center
A comparative analysis of data from India's Sample Registration System (SRS) and from two recent National Family Health Surveys (NFHS-1 in 1992–93 and NFHS-2 in 1998–99) indicates major discrepancies in fertility estimates. For India as a whole, the true total fertility rate (TFR) for 1990–92 was probably around 3.92 children per woman. The true TFR for 1996–98 was probably between 3.39 and 3.55 children per woman. The analysis demonstrates that calculating TFR estimates for the three-year period immediately preceding a survey does not work well in India. In NFHS-1 and NFHS-2, widespread ignorance of children's ages resulted in substantial displacement of births to earlier years, producing an underestimation of the TFR for the most recent three-year period. The NFHS Subject Reports is a series summarizing secondary analysis of data from the 1992-93 National Family Health Survey (NFHS) in India. The NFHS collected information from nearly 90,000 Indian women on a range of demographic and health topics. Conducted under the auspices of the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the survey provides national and state-level estimates of fertility, infant and child mortality, family planning practice, maternal and child health, and the utilization of services available to mothers and children. IIPS conducted the survey in cooperation with consulting organizations and 18 population research centers throughout India. The East-West Center and a U.S.-based consulting firm, Macro International, provided technical assistance, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provided financial support. Printed copies are available from the East-West Center Research Program, Population and Health Studies. Single copies are available free by airmail and may be reproduced for educational use.
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