Changing Role of Female Education on Fertility Decline in Recent Past in India

Namrata Mondal, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)
Chander Shekhar, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)
Dewaram A. Nagdeve, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)

It is well-known that there is an inverse relationship between fertility and women’s education, but a little is known how the relationship operates in a society, even in presence of huge non-literate masses, approaching to replacement level fertility. This paper explores the linkages and also examines how women’s educational attainments contribute to fertility changes using three rounds of the National Family Health Survey data. The study reinforces that education plays a significant role in enhancing women’s ability to make reproductive decisions about postponing age at marriage, enhancing work participation, family size preferences and contraceptive use. It finds that share of fertility decline remained much higher for non-literate women (53 percent) as compared to educated women (18 percent) during 1992-2006 while decomposition analysis is applied. The diffusion process must have been operated in reducing the contribution of female education in overall fertility rate. However, education has been a major predictor in initial fertility decline in India.

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Presented in Poster Session 5