1.29 by 2050: impact of India’s falling fertility rate

Syllabus: GS-I, Subject: Society and Social Justice, Topic: Population and associated issues, Issue: Declining fertility rate

Context: Lancet study and prediction on India’s total fertility rate (TFR).


  • Total fertility rate (TFR) refers to the average number of children that would be born to a woman if she were to live to the end of her reproductive age.
  • Replacement level fertility refers to the total fertility rate at which a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next, without migration, typically TFR of around 2.1.


  • India’s total fertility rate (TFR) is dipping to 1.29 by 2050, far lower than the replacement rate.
  • From around 2 children per woman in 1950, the TFR has dipped to approximately 1.91 in 2024.
  • The global TFR has also been declining, by 2050, 155 out of 204 countries will be below the replacement level.
  • Implications:
    • Shrinking Workforce: A TFR below the replacement rate can lead to a shrinking working-age population in the long run.
    • Dependency Ratio: As the elderly population grows relative to the working-age population, the dependency ratio increases.
    • This means fewer working people are supporting more dependents, potentially impacting social services and healthcare systems.
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