Bihar poised to become 2nd most populous state by 2041

Bihar gears up to celebrate world population day on Thursday against the backdrop of the fact that its population grew by 25.42% during 2001-11 (source: Census 2011) and is now poised to become the second most populous state, surpassing Maharashtra by 2041, with an estimated population of 15.34 crore.

Bihar’s total fertility rate (TFR), which is the child per woman, also remains the highest in the country at 3.3, as compared to the national average of 2.3 (source: Sample Registration System).

That’s not all. Bihar has a high unmet need (women who want to stop or delay childbearing but are not using any method ofcontraception) for family planning at 21% and low use of modern contraceptive methods at just 23% (National Family Health Survey-4, 2015-16).

“Bihar’s low contraceptive prevalence among young people and overall high unmet need pose a substantial challenge, especially in light of the country’s goal of expanding family planning services to additional users,” said a spokesperson of the Centre for Catalysing Change (C3), an NGO, which works on health issues, having footprints in Bihar as well.

The state’s poor showing in population control was also attributed to low access and use of family planning methods.

“The NFHS-4 (2015-16) reports contraceptive use at just 2% for married women between 15 and 19 years of age, as compared to 35% for married women aged 30-39 years (2015-16),” said the spokesperson for C3.

“The state also has a significant number of teenage births. Out of the annual 30 lakh births in the state, 3.5 lakh (approx.) are teenage births, contributing to the state’s high maternal and infant mortality as well as morbidity,” she added.

As per NFHS-4 data, West Champaran (4%), East Champaran (5.5%), Saran (8.7%), Gopalganj (9.1%), Muzaffarpur (9.2%) and Siwan (9.9%) are some districts in Bihar having low contraception prevalence rate, which is thepercentageof women of reproductive age who are using, or whose sexual partner is using, a contraceptive method at a particular point in time.

Referring to the Population Council Udaya study for Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, on understanding the lives of adolescents and young adults, she said, “Among married young women (15-19 years age group) in Bihar, 45% reported an unmet need for contraception. Only 7% of the married young women (15-19 years age group) were currently using any method of contraception and just 8% used any method to delay the first birth,” she signed off.

Bihar, which accounts for 8.58% of the country’s total population, or nearly 103.8 million people (Census 2011), is India’s third most populous state.

With 1106 persons per square kilometer, Bihar is already the most densely populated state in the country.

Efforts to reach Bihar’s principal secretary, health, Sanjay Kumar, executive director, State Health Society, Manoj Kumar and additional executive director Karuna Kumari proved futile.

First Published:
Jul 11, 2019 10:34 IST

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