Socioeconomic development and fertility trends among the states of India


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between levels of socioeconomic development and subsequent trends in fertility among the states of India. Based on the Theory of Demographic Transition, this study tests the hypothesis: The higher the level of socioeconomic development in 1993, the greater the subsequent percentage of decrease in fertility rates between 1999 and 2006 among the states of India.

Design/methodology/approach: The study utilizes Pearson's r correlation and linear multiple regression analysis on three National Family Health Surveys data to predict two measures of decline in fertility from socioeconomic indicators.

Findings: The findings support the theory of demographic transition in large measure revealing that the overall level of socioeconomic development is directly related to subsequent declines in fertility among the states of India. Research limitations/implications: Correlations between state-wide indicators are based on sample data of which margins of error and response rates are unknown.

Practical implications: The study suggests that the empowerment of women through education, employment opportunities and exposure to the mass media reduces fertility.

Social implications: Population control in India is extremely important for the future welfare of all of its society members.

Originality/value: Although previous research has shown cross-sectional correlations between fertility and socioeconomic development, this is the first time correlations between socioeconomic development and subsequent trends in fertility have been measured. This is methodologically important because Demographic Transition Theory hypothesizes a lag between modernization and fertility decline. Rather than correlating level of economic development with current fertility, this study correlates level of economic development with the subsequent dynamic changes in fertility.


Sociology and Anthropology

Document Type





Birth rate, Economic development, Family, Fertility, India

Publication Date


Journal Title

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy