The number of Parsis worldwide is dropping by the day, and India accounts for a chunk of it. Going by the current birth rate of the community, by the next century, there will be less than 20,000 Parsis in India.
Over the last decade, the global figure has fallen by 13,000. Of them 8,600 were from India. The demographic problem is worrying the community, which dwelt on the issue on the third day of the World Zoroastrian Congress.
The cause of low birth was a high degree of individualism among the youth, said Armaity Desai, former director of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences and the UGC, who has coordinated several studies on the subject.
"In one survey, it was found that while most of the 761 young Parsis thought two children were ideal, many of them had just one child due to economic considerations," said Desai.
A special horse race organised during the 10th World Zoroastrian Congress in Mumbai on Sunday. (Kalpak Pathak/ HT Photo)
"Plus, there being no family pressure on women to have children and due to individual career prospects, one in every 10 Parsi women are childless, compared to one in 20 women in the country."
For any population to remain stable, the fertility rate — the average number of children per woman — should be 2.1. But with the community’s fertility rate standing at 0.89, solutions are needed urgently, agreed the members.