Minority Issues – SC, ST, Dalits, OBC, Reservations, etc.

Number of children has more to do with development than religion


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Population Trends; NFHS Report (2019-21);

Mains level: Religion and Demographics in India;

Why in the News? 

Once again, the Muslim population has become a point of discussion. Last month, PM Narendra Modi referred Muslims in India, suggesting they have a higher birth rate.

Trends of Muslim Population as per Data Point (NFHS-5 2019-21) published on April 23:

  • Population Trends: The Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister noted a Muslims in the total population increased by 43.15% between 1950 and 2015, the share of Hindus decreased by 7.82% between 1950 and 2015.
  • The fertility rate of Muslims was 2.36 in 2019-21, much closer to the replacement level. The fertility rate is the average number of children a woman is expected to have in her lifetime. A rate of 2.1 (the ‘replacement level’) means that the population is stable.

Factors behind the High Population Growth of Muslims:

  • Socio-economic Factors: Socio-economic factors, rather than religion, significantly influence fertility rates. Educating girls, delaying marriage, promoting family planning awareness, and ensuring access to family planning measures are crucial in reducing fertility levels.
  • Regional Variations: Fertility rates among Muslim women vary regionally, influenced by the social and economic development of states.
  • Early Marriage and Literacy: There’s a positive correlation between higher fertility rates and early marriage among women aged 20-24. Conversely, a negative correlation exists between literacy rates among women and fertility rates.
  • Lack of Awareness: Lack of awareness about family planning remains a concern, with a significant portion of women reporting never hearing or seeing family planning messages.
  • Unmet Demand for Family Planning: Many women, particularly Muslims in certain states, have an unmet demand for family planning due to various factors, including lack of access to contraceptive measures.
  • Government Intervention: Increasing awareness about contraceptives, improving access to family planning measures, educating girls, and preventing child marriages are essential government functions to reduce fertility rates across religious groups.

Need for Coercive Measures: 

  • Comprehensive Education and Awareness Programs: Implement educational campaigns that promote family planning, gender equality, and reproductive health awareness, targeting both men and women in communities across the country.
  • Access to Family Planning Services: Ensure easy access to a wide range of family planning methods and contraceptives, including in remote and underserved areas, through government health facilities and community outreach programs.

Mains PYQ:

Q Critically examine whether growing population is the cause of poverty OR poverty is the mains cause of population increase in India. (UPSC IAS/2015)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥Mentorship New Batch Launch
💥Mentorship New Batch Launch