Birth rate declining fast, says report

Kathmandu, July 9

Fertility rate in the country has fallen from 6.3 children per woman to 2.3 children per woman between 1976 and 2014, a study reveals.

According to a report titled ‘Population Situation Analysis in Nepal’ released by Family Planning Association Nepal today, the country saw a decline in fertility rate in the early 1980s and by the turn of the century Nepal’s fertility rate fell to 4.1.

The report shows that the pace of fertility decline was the fastest between 2001 and 2006, with the total fertility rate declining further to 3.1, a reduction of one child per woman in five years.

“Declining fertility is largely a result of the choice for smaller families, coupled with better access to contraceptives, “ said FPAN President Amu Singh Sijapati.

Similarly, the report shows that among a majority of caste/ethnic groups, Brahmin women had the lowest fertility in 2006 (23.8 per cent) but by 2011 Newar women surpassed them exhibiting the fastest pace of fertility decline (33 per cent) between 2006 and 2011.

The third fastest decline was observed among Chhetri women at 23 per cent, according to the report. It also shows that fertility decline is also fast among Hill ethnic women at 19 per cent while among the Tarai ethnic counterparts, the pace of decline was only 11 per cent.

Despite the decreasing trend of women fertility rate, nearly 24 per cent married women and 35 per cent adolescent girls between the ages of 15 and 19 years had not been able to access family planning services, Sijapati informed.

“Though there are government agencies and many NGOs are working in this sector, this issue cannot be addressed unless these agencies and organisations work in tandem,” opined Sijapati.

Speaking at the programme, Mahalaxmi Upadhaya, chair of the National Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development stressed that the government should plan its development activities analysing the country’s population trends.

Giulia Vallese, Nepal representative of United Nations Population Fund, claimed that Nepal had invested only 1 per cent of its budget in family planning, though it had committed to allocate 12 per cent of its budget for this sector during the London Summit of Family Planning.