The Parsi-Zoroastrian population in India continues to be on a steady decline, with officials from the community’s apex body in the city, Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP), anticipating a drop of 10% over a dec-ade after the 2001 census.
As per the 2001 census, the total Parsi-Zoroastrian population in India was 69,601, with around 45,000 residing in Mumbai. The BPP is yet to tabulate figures from the 2011 census.
The strength of the community had dropped by about 10% over most decades since 1950, with an exception being the 1971-82 period where the drop was 20%. “The annual birth to death ratio indicates that the population must have dropped by about 10% this decade as well,” said a BPP official.
The average number of births in the city’s Parsi community was only 185 every year, while deaths recorded were about 800. “The fertility rate among the Parsis in India is 0.9, while the national average is 2.6,” said Zubin Shroff, a demographic researcher.
Also, while the BPP uses birth figures as recorded by the civic body, the death figures are based on the number of people consigned to the Tower of Silence. “About 3% of the population has been opting for cremation over last five years,” said the official.