ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
-A A +A

Demographic Outcomes, Economic Development and Womens Agency

Demographic Outcomes, Economic Development and Women's Agency INDIA is a country of striking demographic diversity. Even broad comparisons between different states within the country bring out enormous variations in basic demographic indicators. At one end of the scale, Kerala has demographic features that are more typical of a middle-income country than of a poor developing economy, including a life expectancy at birth of 72 years, an infant mortality of only 17 per 1,000 live births, a total fertility rate below the replacement level (1.8 in 1991), and a female- male ratio well above unity (1.04 in 1991). At the other end, the large north Indian states find themselves in the same league as the least developed countries of the world in terms of the same indicators. In Uttar Pradesh, for instance, the infant mortality rate is six times as high as in Kerala, the total fertility rate is as high as 5.1, and the female-male ratio (879 in 1991) is lower than that of any country in the world.1 India is also a country of rapid demographic change. As in many other developing countries, mortality rates in fndia have significantly declined in recent decades, e g, the infant mortality rate has been reduced by about 50 per cent since 1961. The same period has seen a sustained decline in fertility, particularly in the south Indian states (in Tamil Nadu, for instance, the total fertility rate declined from 3.5 to 2.2 during the 1980s). There have also been significant changes in the relative survival chances of men and women.2 Apart from being of much interest in themselves, these inter-regional and intertemporal variations provide useful opportunities to study the determinants of demographic outcomes in India. This paper is an attempt to examine some of the relevant relationships based on a cross-section analysis of district-level data for 1981. A more detailed presentation and discussion of this analysis can be found in Guio (1994) and Murthi, Guio and Dreze (1995).' The reference year for this analysis is 1981. For that year, a fair amount of district- level information is available from the 1981 Census and related sources. Table 1 a presents a list of the variables used along with their definitions. The relevant information is available for 296 districts, all located in 14 of India's 15 largest states (these 14 states had a total of 326 districts in 1981, and accounted for 94 per cent of the total population of India). The sample averages of the variables used in the analysis are presentedinTablela,whilethestateaverages are in Table lb.

Subscribers please login to access full text of the article.

New 3 Month Subscription
to Digital Archives at

826for India

$50for overseas users

Get instant access to the complete EPW archives

Subscribe now

Comments

(-) Hide

EPW looks forward to your comments. Please note that comments are moderated as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear. A comment, if suitable, may be selected for publication in the Letters pages of EPW.

Back to Top