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For First Time, India Has More Women Than Men: Nfhs Survey

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The National Family and Health Survey (NFHS), in its latest report, has indicated a major shift in India’s demography. For the first time since these surveys began in 1992, the population of women in the country is reported to be more than that of men.

The fifth edition of the NFHS report, released by the Health Ministry on November 24, shows that there were 1,020 women for every 1,000 men in India. This is a significant shift from the NFHS data of 2015-16, that showed there were only 991 women for every 1,000 men in India.

These numbers need to be read with caution though because the NFHS is only a sample survey. However, they can still be seen as a positive indicator.

The NFHS-5 survey used data from over 6.1 lakh sample households from 707 districts across the country to provide disaggregated estimates up to the district level, comprising more than 7.24 lakh women and 1.1 lakh males.

The first edition of the NFHS survey showed that there were only 927 women per 1,000 men in India. The numbers kept improving in subsequent reports and in the third edition in 2005-06, there were equal numbers of men and women per 1,000 persons. The data, however, recorded a dip in NFHS- 4, dropping down 991 women per 1,000 men.

The improvement in the number of women has been seen in most Indian states and Union Territories except for Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Punjab and Chandigarh, Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Ladakh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, where the number of women was fewer than that of men.

These states, however, reported an overall improvement in the female population.

The NFHS data also showed improvement in the sex ratio at birth in the last five years by 10 points. Compared to 919 female children for every 1,000 males in 2015-16, the number has now moved to 929 per 1,000 males.

The improvement recorded in the female population validates the plans and policies designed to curb rampant female infanticide in the country.

(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)

First Published:  IST

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