More women than men in India for first time: National Family and Health Survey

As per the National Family and Health Survey-5, India now has more females than males for the first time on record. The survey’s data has been drawn from around 600,000 households across the country.  

Showing a positive demographic shift, the survey released by the Indian health ministry on Wednesday (November 24), recorded 1,020 women per 1,000 men after two years of research.  

The National Family Health Survey 2019-21 (NFHS-5), the fifth in the NFHS series, provides information on population, health, and nutrition for India and each state and union territory — clubbed under Phase-II.  

The states and union territories that were surveyed in Phase-II are Arunachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, NCT of Delhi, Odisha, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.  

It is also important to note that the findings of NFHS-5 in respect of 22 states and union territories covered in Phase-I were released in December 2020.  

The NFHS-5 survey focused on some new topics, such as preschool education, disability, access to a toilet facility, death registration, bathing practices during menstruation and methods and reasons for abortion.  

Apart from the improved sex ratio in favor of women, other key findings in the survey are:  

-Full immunization drive among children aged 12-23 months has recorded a substantial improvement from 62 per cent to 76 per cent. 

-Nearly four-fifth (78 per cent) of mothers received postnatal care from health personnel within two days of delivery in the country, a significant rise from 62.4 per cent in NFHS-4.  

-The survey findings stated the total fertility rate (children per woman) in the country has reached the replacement level of fertility, a significant demographic milestone. The average number of children per woman has further declined from 2.2 to 2.0 at the national level. 

-Overall Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) has increased substantially from 54 per cent to 67 per cent at the all-India level. 

-Full immunization drive among children aged 12-23 months has recorded improvement from 62 per cent to 76 per cent.  

-Exclusive breastfeeding to children under age 6 months has shown an improvement in the all-India level from 55 per cent in 2015-16 to 64 per cent in 2019-21. 

-Significant progress has been recorded in regard to women operating bank accounts from 53 per cent in NFHS-4 to 79 percent NFHS-5.   

The union health secretary noted that data of NFHS-5 does not fully capture the transformative interventions of government schemes like Ayushman Bharat, Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana and Pradhan Mantri-Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan because they were being rolled out while the survey was being conducted. 

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