Determinants of birth interval dynamics in Orissa, India

Ramesh Poluru, Gokhale Institute of Politics & Economics, India

Despite very higher levels of infant mortality in the East Indian state of Orissa (which equals the rates of Sub-Saharan Africa), the total fertility rate has declined considerably between 1971 and 2001 from 4.7 to 2.7. Of the two-child decline per woman within a span of 30 years, about one child decline is accounted in the last one decade (1989-99). This paper ascertains the influence of socioeconomic and demographic variables on the timing of second, third and fourth order births, beginning from mid-1970s to the early 1990s using the second National Family Health Survey data. In understanding the dynamics of birth intervals, life table approach and Cox proportional hazards models have been adopted. The life table analysis of spacing between births shows the differential impact by socioeconomic and demographic variables on the propensity to go for the second, third and fourth births. The results from the proportional hazards model are consistent with those obtained from the life table analysis and the survival status of the previous child has a very strong effect on subsequent birth spacing. Apart from the survival status of child, the proportional hazards model reveals that the period effect and age of women at previous birth have significant effect in all the three birth intervals. The declining period effect on subsequent birth intervals indicates that the risk of having another birth is the lowest in recent years as compared to 20 years prior to the survey. Thus child spacing has been found to play an important role in fertility transition. Women’s education and son preference have discernible effect only on the third birth interval. Caste and place of residence do not have much influence on birth spacing. Efforts should me made to reduce the infant mortality by implementing reproductive and child health programmes effectively.

  See paper

Presented in Session 17: Fertility trends in developing countries