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Soc Change. 1995 Jun-Sep;25(2-3):30-7.

Demographic profile of the girl child in India.



This article presents a statistical profile of the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of female children in India during 1951-91. The population 0-14 years old increased during 1951-81. In 1991, there were 52-55 million children 0-4 years old. 40% of all women were 0-14 years old, 19% of the total population in 1991. Boys outnumbered girls at all childhood ages. Males gained more in mortality improvements than girls did over time. The decline in the 1991 sex ratio is attributed to female amniocentesis and differences in undercounts. Infant mortality was high and fluctuated prior to 1941. Rates thereafter declined below 200. Infant mortality improved considerably after the 1950s. The 1988 infant mortality rate (IMR) was 95 for males and 93 for females per 1000 live births. A higher female IMR during 1972-87 is attributed to low female status, sex bias in health care, and higher female rates of common childhood diseases. Boys are breast fed longer. Child marriage below the age of 14 years declined over time. In 1981, 93% of girls 0-14 years old were unmarried. The singulate mean age of marriage increased from 15.59 years in 1951 to 18.32 years in 1981. Literacy rates increased for both males and females during 1961-81 and increased rapidly during 1981-91. The gap between male educational levels and female educational levels was narrowing. School attendance was 62.07% among 10-14 year old boys and 37.47% among 10-14 year old girls. Kerala state was the only state where girls have very high attendance rates. School attendance among 10-14 year old children was positively correlated with higher budget allocations and the average cost per student. School attendance was negatively correlated with illiteracy among household members. In rural areas, girl's attendance was related to access to primary school facilities and roads.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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