Survey finds link between educated women, delayed pregnancy

This negative correlation between education and fertility rates implies that higher a woman’s educational credentials, the fewer children she is likely to bear.

By Author   |   Published: 14th Mar 2018   12:20 am Updated: 14th Mar 2018   1:45 am

Hyderabad: More and more educated women in Telangana seem to be delaying marriage and planning their pregnancies — a trend which is clearly visible in the drop in fertility rates among educated women in the State.

This negative correlation between education and fertility rates implies that higher a woman’s educational credentials, the fewer children she is likely to bear. Lesser children in the family also indicates better availability of resources per child, and better health and survival rates for both the mother and child, senior doctors said.

The Sample Registration Survey (SRS) data of Census Commissioner of India and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare indicates that educated women in Telangana are better equipped at handling child birth than those with lesser educational qualifications.

The overall Total Fertility Rate (TFR), which in simple terms refers to total number of children born or likely to be born to a woman in her lifetime, among illiterate women is 2.9 and 2.2 among the literate in India — a clear drop in fertility rate.

The SRS data puts the overall fertility rate among women in Telangana at 1.7. Breaking it down further, it shows the fertility rate among illiterate women is nearly 2, among women who pursued primary education is 2.4, while among graduate women, it drops to 1.6.

“Educated women in urban areas delay their marriage and age for bearing children. Our experience shows that the average age of getting married among educated girls is now 28 years, which was not the case earlier. Education plays a big role in dropping fertility rates,” says Dr Anupama Hari, head of obstetrics and gynecology at Gandhi Hospital.

Experts point out that educated women are better able to support themselves and also have a say in the family size. “The trend of drop in fertility rates is visible in both the Telugu-speaking States. In fact, among graduate women in AP, the fertility rate is just one,” says Dr T Usha Rani, associate professor, pediatrics, Niloufer Hospital.