Sharp decline in fertility rate among Muslims: Study
India’s religious composition has not changed significantly since 1951 with the fertility rates of the two major religious groups--Hindus and Muslims--almost converging, according to a report by the Pew Research Center, a non-profit organisation based in Washington DC. The report said every religious group in India “has seen its fertility fall, including the majority Hindu population and Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Jain minority groups”. It added the fertility rate among Muslims has witnessed a sharp decline. The report said between 1992 and 2015, the fertility rates of Muslims fell from 4.4 to 2.6. Among Hindus, it has declined from 3.3 to 2.1. The fertility gap between Muslim and Hindu women shrank from 1.1 to 0.5 children. “This indicates the gaps in childbearing between India’s religious groups are much smaller than they used to be,” the report said.
The study said it is due to the “declining and converging fertility patterns” that there has been only a marginal change in the religious composition of the country since 1951. India’s average fertility of 2.2 has fallen from what it was in 1951. But it is still higher than developed economies such as the US.
The study is based on data sourced from India’s decennial census and the National Family Health Survey. It looked at the three main factors known to cause changes in the religious composition of populations — fertility rate, migration, and conversions. The report said neither migration nor conversions have had any impact on the religious composition of the country. Interestingly, the report notes that conversions are rare in India.
A Faizur Rahman, the secretary-general of the Islamic Forum for the Promotion of Moderate Thought, said it is the Muslim realisation that education is the only way to come up in life that has resulted in the reduction of their family size through birth control.