Is India on the Path to Replacement Fertility Soon? Exploring the Role of Rural–Urban Differential Pace and Timing of Fertility Decline
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India is on the track to become the world’s most populous country in about a decade, even though there is more than 50% decline in its fertility rate since 1950 to 2.3 children per woman in 2013. In spite of a huge accelerated fertility decline, it has still been passing through the third phase of demographic transition, and yet to reach the replacement level of fertility for population stabilization. In this article, we analyse the role of rural–urban differential pace and timing of fertility decline in India for achieving the target of replacement. We use time series data on total fertility rate from sample registration system provided by the Office of The Registrar General, India to answer a set of the following questions. (i) Is the nation’s fertility transition is typical of its rural part or has it proceeded at a different pace of decline? (ii) To what extent the transition characteristics, e.g. pace and timing are different in rural and urban parts of the nation? Do we identify distinct rural–urban trajectories? (iii) Do these differentials play a significant role in taking the nation towards fourth stage of demographic transition from the third stage? We have used the method of change point analysis to identify the significant change points associated with total fertility rates of rural, urban and the entire country as a whole during 1971–2013. Finally, using a class of ARIMA, models forecasts are obtained and the implications of the results are discussed.
KeywordsTotal fertility rate Random walk Bootstrap sampling ARIMA processes Change point analysis Unit root tests
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