Indian Population Growth Dependent On Development Not Religion: Study

Indian women have more children than counterparts in many Muslim countries. (Representational image)

Fertility rates in India are more closely related to education levels and the socio-economic development within a state than to religious beliefs, according to an IndiaSpend analysis of government data and research evidence.

The evidence we analyse shows that richer families, states with better health facilities and higher female literacy have lower fertility rates in India.

Globally, there is little evidence to link religion and fertility rates, with poorer, conflict-ridden states and countries with lower female empowerment reporting higher population growth rates.

When the office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India released fertility rates for the Indian population last year, the conversation was hijacked by the difference in population growth rates across religions.

Several newspapers emphasized that the data showed that Muslim women had higher fertility rates than non-Muslims, and that the percentage of Muslims in the population was steadily growing.

This implicit suggestion that Muslims have more children than other religious communities missed data that shows how population growth rates and the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) vary widely between India’s states.

The TFR seems more closely related to per capita income, healthcare and other basic facilities in that state.

Development and fertility: The case of Kerala and UP

Compare, for instance, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh (UP). In 2011, the TFR of Uttar Pradesh, at 3.3, was higher than the Indian average of 2.4, and higher than the TFR in Kerala, at 1.8, according to census data.

The Muslim population in Uttar Pradesh increased 25.19 per cent, while the Muslim population in Kerala increased 12.83 per cent between 2001 and 2011. Over the same period, the Hindu population increased 18.9 per cent in Uttar Pradesh and 2.8 per cent in Kerala.

The higher growth rates of Muslims in northern states are “more or less part of a northern culture than a Muslim culture”, NC Saxena, the former secretary of the Planning Commission of India, said.

The states with the highest fertility rates in India are all in north and central India – Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan (TFR 2.9), Jharkhand (2.8), and Chhattisgarh.

These overall fertility rates seem more related to the state’s development. For instance, Kerala has a literacy rate of 93.9 per cent, compared to 69.7 per cent in Uttar Pradesh in 2011.

In the same year, 99.7 per cent of mothers in Kerala received medical attention at delivery compared to 48.4 per cent of mothers in Uttar Pradesh. Besides, 74.9 per cent of women were above the age of 21 in Kerala at marriage, compared to only 47.6 per cent in Uttar Pradesh.

Another way to interpret population growth rates is through the difference in poor and rich states. Empowered Action Group (EAG) states, which include the poorest in India – Rajasthan, UP, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have higher population growth.

Between 2001 and 2011, the population of EAG states grew 21 per cent compared to 15 per cent for the rest of India. Still, decadal population growth rates in even EAG states have fallen when compared to the decadal growth rate of 24.99 per cent between 1991 and 2001.

One reason for the higher Muslim fertility within a state could be because of wealth-related factors.

Survey information showed that families in the lower wealth quintiles have more children than richer families.
For instance, in Bihar, women in the lowest wealth quintile have a TFR of 5.08 while women in the highest quintile have a TFR of 2.12. The same holds true for a richer state, like Maharashtra, where the lowest wealth quintile has a TFR of 2.78, compared to the richest wealth quintile with a TFR of 1.74.

On average, Muslims across India are poorer than Hindus, with an average monthly household per capita expenditure of Rs 833, compared to Rs 888 for Hindus, Rs 1,296 for Christians and Rs 1,498 for Sikhs, according to a 2013 National Sample Survey report, based on data from 2009-2010.

Indian women have more children than counterparts in many Muslim countries

There is little evidence internationally of the correlation between religion and fertility rates.

For instance, according to World Bank data, in 2014, Bangladesh, India’s Muslim-majority neighbour, had a TFR of 2.2. Iran, another Muslim country, has a TFR of 1.7, below replacement level, which means the current population cannot be replaced at the prevailing population growth rate.

In India, the Muslim growth rate is falling faster than the growth rate of Hindus.

The decadal population growth rate of Muslims fell 4.9 percentage points from 29.5 per cent in 2001 to 24.6 per cent in 2011, while that of Hindus fell 3.5 percentage points, from 20.3 per cent to 16.8 per cent.

In 2001, 65.1 per cent of all Hindus, above the age of 7 years, were literate, while 59.1 per cent of Muslims were literate, according to census data. In 2011, the percentage of literate Hindus rose to 73.3 per cent, while that of Muslims increased to 68.5 per cent.

Fertility rates of populations that have higher fertility, such as low-income families and Muslims, are falling faster than other groups, as methods of contraception and education spread to these groups, said one expert.


  1. Thank you, I’ve recently been searching for info about this topic for
    a while and yours is the greatest I’ve came upon so far. But, what
    in regards to the bottom line? Are you certain about the

  2. Wonderful items from you, man. I’ve bear in mind your stuff prior to and you’re just too excellent.
    I actually like what you’ve bought right here, really like what you’re saying and the
    best way through which you are saying it. You make it entertaining and you continue to take care of to stay it smart.
    I can not wait to learn much more from you. This is really a wonderful

  3. I simply couldn’t go away your website before suggesting that I actually loved the standard information a person supply in your guests?
    Is going to be back often to inspect new posts

  4. First off I want to say fantastic blog! I had a quick
    question which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your
    thoughts prior to writing. I’ve had a difficult time clearing my mind in getting my ideas out there.
    I truly do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be
    wasted simply just trying to figure out how to
    begin. Any recommendations or hints? Kudos!

  5. Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as long as
    I provide credit and sources back to your weblog?

    My blog site is in the very same area of interest as yours
    and my visitors would genuinely benefit from some of the information you provide here.

    Please let me know if this ok with you. Thanks a lot!

  6. I think this is one of the most vital information for me.
    And i’m glad reading your article. But want to remark on some general
    things, The web site style is wonderful, the articles is really nice :
    D. Good job, cheers

  7. I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your
    weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself?
    Anyway keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one nowadays.

  8. Hello I am so delighted I found your website, I really found you by accident,
    while I was researching on Bing for something else, Regardless I am here now and would just like to say many thanks
    for a marvelous post and a all round exciting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to look over it all at the minute but I have
    bookmarked it and also added in your RSS feeds,
    so when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep
    up the superb b.

  9. I loved as much as you’ll receive carried out right here.
    The sketch is tasteful, your authored subject matter stylish.
    nonetheless, you command get bought an shakiness over that you wish
    be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come further formerly again since exactly the same nearly a lot often inside
    case you shield this hike.

  10. Hi there! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be okay.
    I’m absolutely enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.

  11. Hello this is kind of of off topic but I was wondering if blogs
    use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.
    I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding expertise so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience.
    Any help would be enormously appreciated!

  12. I truly love your blog.. Pleasant colors & theme. Did you
    develop this website yourself? Please reply back as I’m attempting to create my
    own personal site and want to learn where you got
    this from or what the theme is called. Thank you!

  13. I’ve been exploring for a little for any high quality articles or blog posts
    in this kind of space . Exploring in Yahoo I at last
    stumbled upon this site. Studying this information So i am satisfied to show that I’ve a very excellent
    uncanny feeling I found out exactly what I needed. I such a lot unquestionably will make certain to
    do not omit this site and provides it a glance regularly.

  14. The fact described in above article by the Govt agency Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India but RSS and BJP create dis-information by quoting false data about Indian Muslims in minds of Hindus for Vote bank politics. Such hate mongering and dis-information spreading is criminal activity and should be dealt with Iron hand by law enforcement agencies.

Comments are closed.