HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: A woman in the country has an average of 2.6 children, a decrease from 3.1 in 2006, according to the Nepal Demographic Health Survey (NDHS)-2011.
The recently disseminated survey had interviewed a sample of 12,674 women aged 15 to 49 in 10,826 households and 4,121 men aged 15 to 49 in half of these households.
As per the survey, fertility in Nepal has declined over the past 15 years, with 4.6 in 1996, 4.1 in 2001 and 3.1 in 2006.
The survey showed that fertility varies by residence and by region. A woman in urban areas has 1.6 children on average, compared to 2.8 in rural areas. Fertility is higher in the mid-western (3.2) and far-western (2.8) regions than in the eastern, central or western (each 2.5) regions.
Fertility rate is highest in the mountains where women have an average of 3.4 children, the report said.
It also added that fertility also varies with mother’s education and economic status. Women who have SLC and higher education have an average of 1.7 children while women with no schooling have an average of 3.7 kids.
NDHS said women in poor families have more than twice as many children as women who are in wealthy families as the former have 4.1 children and the latter have 1.5 children per woman.
The survey also showed that Nepali women aged 25 to 49 have their first birth at the age of 20.2 years. Only two per cent of women aged 25 to 49 bore babies at the age of 15 while 23 per cent had their first birth by 18.
The survey further showed that Nepali women get married at the fairly young age of 17.5.