Nation of Beancounters

What happens after the demographic dividend?

Posted in Indian Variables, The World Is Complicated by Navin Kumar on March 9, 2012

There’s been quite a fuss about the Karnataka government’s decision to shut down or relocate some 600+ schools. A letter to the EPW brings some sanity:

Fertility in Karnataka was very high in the 1960s and 1970s with the estimated birth rate around 42 per thousand of the population. The decadal growth rate of population in Karnataka during 1961-71 was a little more than 24.2%. In order to contain this rapid population growth, the Government of Karnataka launched massive family planning programmes, as elsewhere in the country… today the state has achieved its demographic goal of a birth rate of 18 per thousand population. In some districts, like Udupi, fertility has gone below replacement levels, while others are on the threshold of reaching this stage. Some districts, like Chikmagalore, recorded negative population growth between 2001 and 2011. Thus, Karnataka can be said to be in an advanced stage of demographic transition.

It appears that the sharply falling birth rate in Karnataka, in particular the rural areas, is compelling the government to merge or relocate primary schools in rural areas. This problem is confined not just to Karnataka. All the states which have been experiencing a rapid fertility decline will have to face this problem.

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