Sharp Fall in Number of Children in Muslim Households: Govt Report

Muslim women show off their inked fingers after voting in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. PTI photo

The latest government report is a slap on the face of Hindutva groups that always allege that Muslims have hatched a conspiracy to outnumber Hindus in India.

Mumtaz Alam | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI — The Muslim community is far ahead of all other religious groups in India in recording decadal fall in Total Fertility Rate (TFR), reveals a latest report from the government. The National Family Health Survey 2015-16 says the average number of children born to a Muslim woman over her lifetime is 2.61, which is a decline of 0.79 child from the 3.40 children to a Muslim woman recorded in the 2005-06 survey.

Between 2005-06 and 2015-16, all religious groups have recorded decline in TFR while Muslims recorded the highest decline. Muslims’ TFR fell from 3.40 children to 2.61 children, followed by Buddhist/ Neo Buddhist (from 2.25 to 1.74) and Hindus (from 2.59 to 2.13).  

Religion Total Fertility Rate Decline
NFHS-3 (2005-06) NFHS-4 (2015-16)
Muslim 3.40 2.61 0.79
Buddhist /Neo Buddhist 2.25 1.74 0.51
Hindu 2.59 2.13 0.46
Sikh 1.95 1.58 0.37
Christian 2.34 1.99 0.35
Jain 1.54 1.20 034
Others 3.98 2.57 1.41


The report says that national TFR has declined. “The TFR has declined noticeably in India over time. Between 1992-93 and 2015-16, the TFR has declined by 1.2 children (from a TFR of 3.4 children in 1992-93 to 2.2 children in 2015-16),” says the report. “The TFR among women in rural areas has declined from 3.7 children in 1992-93 to 2.4 children in 2015-16. The corresponding decline among women in urban areas was from 2.7 children in 1992-93 to 1.8 children in 2015-16.”

The national TFR as per NHHS 2015-16 is 2.2. The religious community with the lowest fertility rate, much below the national TFR, is Jains (1.2), followed by Sikhs (1.6), Buddhists or Neo Buddhists (1.7) and Christians (2). Muslims are the only community with higher TFR than the national average but the sharp decadal fall in their TFR shows the community is fast catching up with the national average.

At the same time, Muslims’ sharp decline in TFR is a huge blow to the propaganda of Hindutva groups that the community has hatched a conspiracy to outnumber Hindus in the country.

Last week, a Rajasthan lawmaker belonging to the ruling BJP of Prime Minister Narendra Modi had alleged that Muslims were bearing more children with an aim to outnumber Hindus and to take control of the country by 2030.

Banwari Lal Singhal, a BJP MLA from Alwar district which is going to Lok Sabha by-polls later this month, had reportedly said: “Muslims were giving birth to 12-14 children….while Hindus restrict the number to one or two.”

The latest government report is enough to shut up Singhal and all Hindutva groups because it shows that the average number of children to a Muslim woman is 2.61 and the average number of children to a Hindu woman is 2.13.


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