At a time when teenage pregnancy–share of women aged 15-19 years who had begun childbearing–fell in the rest of the country, with some of India’s poorest states registering the highest drops, three states in the northeast registered an increase, according to an analysis of newly released government data.
While teenage pregnancy dropped by more than 10 percentage points between the 2005-06 and 2015-16 rounds of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) in Jharkhand, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, it rose by less than half a percentage point in Tripura, Meghalaya and Manipur.
At 0.3 percentage points, Tripura and Meghalaya saw the highest rise between 2005-06 and 2015-16 rounds. While the rate of teenage pregnancy in Tripura rose to 18.8% in 2015-16 from 18.5% in 2005-06, it increased to 8.6% from 8.3% in Meghalaya.
Manipur saw the rate increase by 0.1 percentage points to 7.4% in 2015-16 from 7.3% in 2005-06.
Overall, teenage pregnancy in India fell by 8.1 percentage points to 7.9% in 2015-16 from 16% in 2005-06.
Poorest states see highest drops
At 15.6 percentage points, teenage pregnancy declined the most in Jharkhand to 11.9% in 2015-16 from 27.5% in 2005-06.
Tripura replaced Jharkhand as the state with the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in 2015-16.
West Bengal, which had the second highest rate at 25.3% in 2005-06, remained second in 2015-16 with a teenage pregnancy rate of 18.3%–down 7 percentage points.
Bihar (12.8 percentage points) and Uttar Pradesh (10.5 percentage points) saw the second and third highest drops.
Hindus, SC/STs see maximum drop
Teenage pregnancy among Hindus fell the most at 8.6 percentage points between 2005-06 and 2015-16.
Muslims (7 percentage points) and Buddhist/Neo-Buddhists (6.9 percentage points) saw the second and third highest drops.
Among communities, scheduled castes (SCs) and tribes (STs)–discriminated communities eligible for affirmative action–witnessed the largest fall in the period. While teenage pregnancy fell by 11 percentage points to 8.8% in 2015-16 from 19.8% in 2005-06 for SCs, it decreased by 10.6 percentage points to 10.5% from 21.1% for the STs.
The difference in teenage pregnancy rates between urban and rural areas fell to 4.2 percentage points in 2015-16 from 10.4 percentage points in 2005-06.
While rural areas saw a drop of 9.9 percentage points from 19.1% to 9.2% in 11 years to 2015-16, urban areas witnessed a drop of 3.7 percentage points to 5% from 8.7%.
(Vivek is an analyst with IndiaSpend.)
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