The demographic window

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

Context: Several reports including Lancet and UN population division predicts a decline in Total Fertility Rate (TFR) and overall population in India.

  • Total Fertility Rate reflects the average number of children a woman might give birth to in her lifetime.

Factors driving demographic transition:

  • Rapid economic development, lower infant mortality rates, increased women’s education and work participation,
  • Improved housing conditions and old-age security systems.

Significance of demographic transition:

  • Rapid decline in TFR leads to a fall in dependency rate and larger share of working adults, boosting economic growth.
  • Demographic transition increases labour productivity through capital resources, education investment, and age distribution changes.
  • Declining TFR affects education outcomes, shifting focus to middle and higher education and skill development.
  • With less childcare responsibility, more women are expected to join the workforce, especially in southern states.

The way ahead:

  • Improvement in life expectancy brings challenges of aging population and increased healthcare demand.
  • India must prepare to seize opportunities ahead of predicted time.
+1 advantage for mains (Reports):

·        UN Population Division projects India’s population to reach close to 1.7 billion by 2065 before declining.

·        The Lancet report estimates India’s total fertility rate (TFR) to decrease to 1.29 by 2051, indicating significant demographic changes.

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