Bhutan may be headed for a drop in population in the years to come as its total fertility rate fell to 1.9 children per woman in 2017, a government report showed on Wednesday. The total fertility rate is defined as the number of children an average woman gives birth to in her lifetime at the current rate.
The World Health Organization says a rate of 2.1 keeps the population stable – newborns replace dying people without any deficit – but a rate below that means fewer people will be born than the ones who die.
The last such report – Living Standards Survey Report – released by Bhutan was in 2012 when the total fertility rate was 2.1, also called the “replacement-fertility level”.
In comparison, India has a total fertility rate of 2.2, according to the 2015-’16 National Family Health Survey – varying from 1.6 in Kerala to 2.7 in Uttar Pradesh.
Bhutan’s data, based on the last 12 months, showed similar varying levels for both urban and rural regions. The Dagana district, or dzongkhag, had a total fertility rate of 0.7. The highest rate was recorded by the Tsirang district, with a total fertility rate of 3.8.
The report also measures Bhutan’s unique Gross National Happiness index. Over three-quarters (75.5%) of the Bhutanese citizens were recorded “moderately happy” or “very happy”. Only 3.7% said they were “moderately unhappy” and 2.6% identified themselves as “very unhappy”.