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   Home >> Library index >> Child Marriage >> 3 lakh girls under 15 have given birth
3 lakh girls under 15 have given birth 
Census Data Reveals Disturbing Trend Of Underage Married Mothers 

By Samiran Chakrawertti TIMES INSIGHT GROUP 

New Delhi: Child labour may now acquire a wholenew meaning for you. Close to 300,000 girls under the age of 15 are not only married but have already borne children at least once, according to census figures just released. Of these, a little over 1.7 lakh have borne two kids, and another 1.25 lakh have had one child. While many of these girls—just under 1.5 lakh—are from rural areas, as many as 74,082 are from urban areas, with 43,151 two-child urban mothers below the age of 15. 
Amazingly, almost 2.7 lakh women under the age of 24 have already had seven or more children, 86,500 have had six children, more than 2,25,000 have had five children and over eight lakh have had four kids. 
Even as the average number of children born to married women in India has fallen a wee bit to 3.03 from 3.07 a decade back and 3.38 in 1981, this fine print on underage mothers makes for startling reading. The average number of children born to each married girl below the age of 15 has increased dramatically to 0.31 from only 0.09 a decade back and 0.02 in 1981. 
There is, however, a caveat to the comparison. The figures for the 1991 and 1981 census were based on samples rather than total figures, but the 2001 figures are the actual population totals that leave no doubt, showing an average of close to one child for every three married girls under the age of 15. 


15 lakh girls under 15 married 20% of these – 3 lakh – have at least 1 child 74,082 under-15s in urban areas have 1 child, 43,151 have 2 children 

Under 24 

2.7 lakh have 7 or more children each 86,500 have 6 children 2,25,000 have 5 children 8 lakh have 4 children 

Average number of children for all ages is 5 

Fertility rate down 10%, shows census 

By Samiran Chakrawertti TIMES INSIGHT GROUP 
New Delhi: Even though the earlier census figures suggest that there has been a spurt in underage mothers, the data for higher age groups in the latest census seems to suggest otherwise. In the 15-19 age bracket, there are 1.77 lakh married girls with four children, over six lakh 15-to 19-year-olds with two children, and more than 1.34 lakh with three children each. 
Unsurprisingly, five or more kids seems to be the most popular choice for the number of progeny—as many as 22.5% of married women of all age brackets have had five or more children, followed by 19.3% with two children and 17.4% of married women with three children. Of the rest, 14.6% have had no children, 13% one child, and another 13% have borne three kids. 
Despite all this, there’s also some good news from the census tables on fertility rates. A comparison over time of the average number of children born to women in the 45-49 age group—when women are regarded as being past their child-bearing years—is seen as a good indicator of fertility trends. That figure has come down to 3.88 in 2001, down 10% from the 4.31 in 1991. However, 1991 showed a 15% decline from 5.02 in 1981, so the fertility rate has reduced at a slower pace during the last decade than from 1981-1991. That is not a surprise as fertility tends to taper off over time.