Academic journal article South Asian Studies

Rural-Urban Fertility Gap and Fertility Adaptation by Rural to Urban Migrants in Punjab: A Case of Bahawalpur District

Academic journal article South Asian Studies

Rural-Urban Fertility Gap and Fertility Adaptation by Rural to Urban Migrants in Punjab: A Case of Bahawalpur District

Article excerpt


Given the relatively slow development and less adequate management of resources, rapid growth of population in Punjab is an issue of vital concern. Significant improvement in the standard of living of its inhabitants may remain just a vision unless population growth is controlled. At the present rates, Punjab would be unable to meet the needs of its population and find jobs for those completing education. Currently almost two-third of its population live in rural areas showing high fertility rate than that of urban population and is playing major part in overall rapid population growth in the province. Resultantly, the quality of population in terms of education, jobs, provision of health and other facilities is adversely affected. So, this issue needs realistic response.

To understand population growth, study of fertility levels, determinants and differentials are key factors. This endeavor, using primary and secondary data, undertakes fertility variations between rural and urban populations of Punjab in general and Bahawalpur district in particular and investigates the causes of fertility differences between them. Fertility levels for each of the rural and urban stratums of population of districts have been computed and compared to point out the fertility gap between them. The study also looks in to the fertility behaviour of the rural to urban migrants. Census data have been used to compute fertility levels and differentials at district level for the entire province. Then the study was supplemented by field survey data of sample district Bahawalpur. This helped out to reach the precise results. Striking differences in the fertility rate of rural and urban areas have been found. Significant inverse correlation between proportion of urban population and fertility rate leads to arrive the conclusion that difference in reproductive behaviour between the women of two polar type community stems mainly from differences in their socio-economic conditions specifically from differences in the literacy rate, level of education, and age at marriage. The study also suggests that rural areas should be the focus of policy formulation and program implementation because major part of the population of Punjab is still inhabited there.

Keywords: Punjab, fertility levels, rural-urban fertility gap, fertility adaptation, fertility determinants, rural-urban migration

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A widely held earlier documented notion concerning the socio-economic aspects of human fertility is that rural populations are more fertile than urban populations (UN, 1953, p. 85; Mosk, 1980, p. 77) specifically in less developed areas like Punjab. Although, regardless of the overall level of fertility, rural-urban differences have been observed in most societies, but these differences are more significant in less developed societies and their interpretation and meaning have been eagerly questioned (Kuznets, 1974). Some pollsters contended that rural- urban differences are typically small and before the onset of fertility transition arise solely due to lower proportions of married amongst fecund women in urban areas as a consequence of more job opportunities for urban women (Mosk, 1980). However, despite the considerable attention on this topic, little work has been done to relate rural-urban fertility differences systematically to socio-economic development.

Rapid growth of population in less developed areas like Punjab is certainly the out come of high fertility- the exact reproductive performance of women in a population. The study of fertility differentials helps to locate the high fertility groups within the same society. Single variable at a time is taken into account with a view to point out the differences in fertility among various sub-groups of population based on that variable. This study examines fertility gap between rural and urban inhabitants which are the two main sub-groups of same population. …

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