Indian fertility rates – across all religions – are the lowest they have ever been

The Indian Census Commission today released its report on the Population by Religious Communities of Census 2011. (The Census 2011 dashboard is here). Across all religions, fertility rates have never been lower. By 2050 it is almost certain that all religious groups will have fertility rates lower than the replenishment rate. The demographics for the next 70-80 years are pretty well fixed and now can only be significantly altered by drastic measures (such as mass sterilisation or one-child policies)

While Chinese population has just peaked and is already in decline, the Indian population is expected to peak a little before 2050. Both China and India are then expected to have significant population decline  for the rest of this century.

The Hindu carries a comprehensive report:

India’s Muslim population is growing slower than it had in the previous decades, and its growth rate has slowed more sharply than that of the Hindu population, new Census data show.

The decadal Muslim rate of growth is the lowest it has ever been in India’s history, as it is for all religions.

Census 2011: Population growth is % per decade graphic – The Hindu

The Muslim population still grows at a faster rate than the Hindu population, but the gap between the two growth rates is narrowing fast. India now has 966.3 million Hindus, who make up 79.8 per cent of its population, and 172.2 million Muslims, who make up 14.23 per cent. Among the other minorities, Christians make up 2.3 per cent of the population and Sikhs 2.16 per cent. ….

……. As has been the case since Independence, the rate of increase of the Muslim population is higher than that of the Hindu population as a result of higher Muslim fertility, higher child mortality among Hindus and a greater life expectancy among Muslims, demographers say. However, Muslim fertility rates in India are falling faster than among Hindus, Pew Research’s Future of World Religions report showed recently, and the Muslim community is expected to reach replacement levels of fertility by 2050. …

…… The data on Population by Religious Communities of Census 2011 show that between 2001 and 2011, Hindu population grew by 16.76 per cent, while that of Muslims by 24.6 per cent. The population of both communities grew faster during the previous decade, at 19.92 per cent and 29.52 per cent, respectively. As a long-term trend, say demographers, the communities’ growth rates are converging.

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