GUWAHATI, Jan 15 � In a significant development, the average crude birth rate in the decade between 2000-02 and 2010-12 in Assam has declined by almost 15 per cent. As per the latest Sample Registration System (SRS) 2012 survey of the Census Office, the crude birth rate (i.e., per 1,000) in the State has fallen from 26.8 in 2000-02 to 22.8 in 2010-12.
At the national level, the rate of decline in birth rate was 14.2 per cent. The rate of decline in average birth rate varied from 23.6 per cent in Punjab to 9.6 per cent in Gujarat.
Experts said the decline points to both the State moving ahead in phase of demographic transition, as well as growing awareness among and empowerment of women.
During the decade, the birth rate in rural Assam has declined by 13.7 per cent from 27.8 to 24, while in urban areas the fall was 15.7 per cent from 18.5 to 15.6.
The latest figures also show that the sex ratio (female per 1,000 males) at birth in Assam in 2010-12 was 922, which is higher than the national average of 908. The sex ratio at birth in rural and urban areas of the State was 924 and 905, respectively.
Assam�s sex ratio at birth is better than States like Andhra Pradesh (914), Bihar (909), Delhi (884), Gujarat (909), Maharashtra (896), Punjab (863), Rajasthan (893) and Uttar Pradesh (874) but lower than Chhattisgarh (979), Himachal Pradesh (939), Karnataka (950), Kerala (966), Odisha (948), Tamil Nadu (928) and West Bengal (944).
Meanwhile, the General Fertility Rate in Assam also declined substantially by 17.6 per cent during the last decade from 100.9 in 2000-02 to 82.8 in 2010-12. The decline is rural areas of the State was 16.1 per cent, while it was 18 per cent in urban areas.
At the all-India level, a decline of 18 per cent in GFR has been registered during the decade and it varied from 18 per cent in rural to 16 per cent in urban areas.
Among the other States, the percentage decline in GFR varied from 25.5 in Punjab to 10.1 in Kerala, which has a superior health-care and educational system since many decades.
The age specific fertility rate in Assam in 2012 was highest among women in the 20-24 years (170.6) and 25-29 years (135.5), followed by 30-34 years (66.7), 15-19 years (49.8), 35-39 years (35.8), 40-44 years (8.5) and 45-49 years (5.3).
The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) in 2010-12 in the State was 2.4, which is equal to the national average. The TFR is Assam fell by 20 per cent during the decade from 3 in 2000-02. This indicates success in the family planning measures.
TFR indicates the average number of children expected to be born per woman during her entire span of reproductive period.