Towards Andhraization? A multistate analysis of reproductive biographies in high and low fertility states of India
Frans Willekens, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)
Sabu S. Padmadas, University of Southampton
Fertility trajectories in India show an exceptional pattern not seen elsewhere in Asia. Births are increasingly becoming compressed in shorter reproductive spans and many women complete childbearing at very young ages, particularly in southern India where fertility rates have fallen below replacement levels. For example, in Andhra Pradesh women enter childbearing early and accept sterilization at relatively young ages as low as 23 years. The Andhra model, although successful in reducing fertility rates, is certainly extreme in India. The critical question is: to what extent other large and high fertility states follow the Andhra pattern and if they do, what are the implications for future population growth in these states? Using cross-sectional data from the three successive rounds of the nationally representative Indian National Family Health Surveys, this paper adopts a multi-state life table approach to investigate the intra-cohort variations in the sequencing and timing of major events in the reproductive life course. Additionally, a micro-simulation is carried out to examine the extent of intra-cohort heterogeneity. The analyses show that most high and low fertility states in India are rapidly converging to the Andhra model. The potential impact of the ‘Andhraization’ effect on individual reproductive biographies and its implications on the health and economic wellbeing of women are discussed.