An evaluation of recent estimates of fertility trends in India

Type Journal Article - National Family Health Survey Subject Report
Title An evaluation of recent estimates of fertility trends in India
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2001
Comparison of fertility estimates from India’s Sample Registration System (SRS) and two recent National Family Health Surveys (NFHS-1 in 1992–93 and NFHS-2 in 1998– 99) indicates major discrepancies between the three sources. This subject report attempts to evaluate the reasons for these discrepancies and to assess the true trend of fertility in all India and 16 major states. The analysis indicates that, for all India, the true total fertility rate (TFR) for 1990–92 was probably around 3.92, and the true TFR for 1996–98 was probably between 3.39 and 3.55, somewhat higher than the raw SRS estimates and considerably higher than the raw NFHS-1 and NFHS-2 estimates for the same time periods. The new estimates correct for displacement of births in NFHS-1 and NFHS-2 and for underregistration of births in the SRS. Although the new TFR estimates are higher, the decline in the TFR between 1990–92 and 1996–98 (0.4 or 0.5 child) derived from them is consistent with the declines calculated directly from the SRS (0.4 child) and from NFHS-1 and NFHS-2 (0.5 child). Misreporting of women’s ages in the two NFHS surveys does not have a large effect on the estimates of the TFR, for either India or major states. On the other hand, it does have a large effect on the estimates of ASFRs (age-specific fertility rates). Because the extent of age misreporting did not change much between the two surveys in India as a whole, our survey-based estimates of changes in ASFRs for all India are probably fairly accurate, insofar as errors in the estimates of ASFRs tend to cancel out when computing changes. In most individual states, however, the extent of age misreporting changed enough between the two surveys that we are unable to arrive at accurate estimates of changes in ASFRs. In the SRS, the pattern of change in ASFRs is distorted at both the national and state levels by changes in the pattern of age misreporting caused by the phasing in of a new SRS sample during the period 1993–95

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