BHUBANESWAR: Over 14 lakh women in Odisha have at least four children. If that is not interesting enough, here is more. At least 5.4 lakh women have seven children or more, says the fertility analysis report of Census India.
If the current focus is on small and nuclear families, the statistics reveal that Odisha is defying the trend and imposing the burden of motherhood on women.
As per the report by Directorate of Census, Odisha, there are at least 1.19 crore married women in the State out of a total female population of 2.07 crore. At least 12.23 per cent of the married women have four children while 7.13 per cent have five offsprings. The report shows that 4.56 per cent of married women have seven children or more.
However, the highest percentage of married women - at least 22.93 per cent - have two children.
The census analysis shows that though the legal marriageable age of girls is 18 years, women in the age group of less than 15 years have married and given birth too. During the Census, it was found that there are 41,729 married women who are 15 years or less in age. Though 74.39 per cent of these women have not given birth to any child, at least 9.34 per cent have one child while 16.27 per cent have two.
Similarly, in the age group of 15-19 years, there are 2,90,089 married women in Odisha out of which 69.79 per cent have no child. However, at least 22.52 per cent have at least one child and 4.23 per cent have given birth to two babies. Bizarre as it may sound, at least 1.55 per cent of these married women in 15-19 age group have three children while 1.92 per cent have four. The facts point at the sorry picture of motherhood among women at an early age in the State.
If there are 11.65 lakh married women in the 20-24 years age group, a healthy 36.39 per cent have borne no child but at least 4.02 per cent have already given birth to three children, whereas 1.01 per cent have four, 0.29 per cent have five, 0.14 per cent have six and 0.40 per cent have seven or more children. The overall data shows that many minors are becoming pregnant and attaining motherhood in the State.
However, a contrast exists. If the reproductive age of a woman is considered to be in the age group of 15-49 years, the Census found that at least 9,197 children were born to women who were aged 50 years and above.
Out of these, 6.06 per cent births are first children but 15.22 per cent are fifth, 8.44 per cent births are sixth and 9.04 per cent are seventh or more.