Predictors of third and Higher order births in India
Background: Total fertility rate (TFR) reflecting population growth is closely related to higher order parity progression. Many Indian states reached replacement level of TFR, but still states constituting nearly 40% population are with TFR ≥ 3. The predictors are the desire of son’s, poor contraceptives practices, younger age at marriage, child loss and shorter birth spacing. Objective: This analysis assessed the degree of relation of 3rd and higher order parity progression with the above mentioned predictors. Material and Methods: State/Union Territories wise proportions of women: progressing to ≥3 births, more sons desire, birth spacing <24 months, adopting modern contraception and median marriage age <18 years along with infant mortality rate (IMR) were taken from NFHS-III report. Correlation matrix and stepwise forward multiple regression carried. Significance was seen at 5%. Results: Hindi speaking states constituting 38.92% nation population recorded TFR ≥3. Positive correlation of mothers progressing ≥ 3 births was highest (0.746) with those desiring more sons followed by IMR (0.445); while maximum negative correlation with those practicing modern contraceptives (-0.565) followed by median age at marriage (-0.391). Multiple regression analysis in order identified desire of more sons, practicing modern contraception and shorter birth spacing as the significant predictors and jointly explained 77.9% of the total variation with gain of 15.5% by adding modern contraceptive practice and 8.3% by adding shorter birth spacing. Conclusions: Desire of more sons appeared the most important predictor to progress ≥3 births that is governed by society culture and educational attainment, require attitudinal change. Further, mothers need motivation to practice both spacing and terminal methods once family is complete.