Small families with one or two children have now become a part of Delhi’s culture.
According to a recent Delhi Government report, more than 86 per cent couples now restrict their families to not more than two children. While 53 per cent couples decided to have just one child, about 33 per cent opted in 2009 for the second child to make their families "complete".
“The interesting part is that of 3.54 lakh births registered in 2009 in Delhi, only 2.79 per cent were fourth child of their parents. This is a clear indication that the awareness about the necessity and benefits of smaller families is high now among people," said Delhi Urban Development and Planning minister Ashok Kumar Walia while releasing the report
'Registration of Births and Deaths in Delhi - 2009'.
This is a clear drop from 1991. Then, 19.79 per cent births were the fourth child in the family. Health experts believe the decline in the number of families opting more than two kids is a welcome sign.
“People now realise the importance of utilising their resources on raising one or two kids and giving the best of education and facilities to them," said Dr Bir Singh, in-charge, Department of Community Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences. "If you notice, there has not been much emphasis on family planning in the past few years. Even then if the message is subtly reaching the community it is phenomenal."
According to the report, sex ratio in the Capital city stood at 915 females per thousand males in 2009. On an average, everyday there are 971 births in Delhi. The city's birth rate in 2009 worked out at 20.21 per thousand population, which the government feels is a "progressive indicator" for Delhi's economy. National birth rate per thousand population stood at 22.80.
However, only 75.64 per cent births were institutional — that happened in hospitals and health centres — 24.36 per cent took place in houses: a fact the government is not happy about.
“We will certainly try to achieve 85-90 per cent institutional deliveries in the next couple of years by creating more awareness and with a strong referral system,” Walia said.
Interestingly, almost 100 per cent births in the New Delhi Municipal Corporation area — primarily the residence of government babus — were institutional.
According to the report, lifestyle- and age-related diseases were the biggest cause of deaths in Delhi in 2009. It said that among the 1,12,013 deaths registered in the Capital, pulmonary circulation and other health diseases accounted for 15.33 per cent deaths.