High birth rate is a special feature of all the developing economies. The factors responsible for high birth rate are discussed below.
1. Climatic factor:
India is a hot country. In the hot climate girls get puberty at an early age which lengthens the fertility period. In the cold countries, girls get puberty late which reduces their effective period to produce children. In India, this climatic factor along with other socio-economic factors has in a high birth rate.
2. Socio-Cultural Factors:
(i) Universal and Early Marriage System:
In India universal marriage is a social custom. 76 percent of ladies between the age group 15-44 are married. Since marriage among women is almost universal, birth rate becomes higher. Further, Indian women marry comparatively, at an early age. The average marriage age of women is about 16 years. As the child-bearing capacity is more at an early age, birth rate tends to be higher.
(ii) Craze for a male child:
In Indian society, more importance is given to the male child as certain religious duties have to be performed only by sons. So they go for more and more child expecting a son to come. This lades to a high birth rate.
(iii) Joint-family System :
In India there is joint family system, which induces the young couples to have more children though they are individually not able to support them. An additional child brings no immediate hardship to parents. This is another factor responsible for high birth rate.
3. Economic Factors:
(i) Poverty :
Some demographers establish a casual relationship between poverty and high birth rate. In poor families children are considered an asset as they add to family income from an early age. Further, a large family acts as a social security for the old age. Besides, it is believed that the reproductive capacity of the poor is intense as sex is the only form of entertainment for them. According to one economist, sexual play is the national play of India. Thus a high birth rate is always associated with poverty of the people.
(ii) Illiteracy and Unemployment:
In India people are illiterate and ignorant. In 1991, 60 percent of Indian women were illiterate. Further, 68 percent of women were unemployed and confined to four corners of the house. They did not know the benefit of family planning measures. This results in high birth rate.
(iii) Partial success of Birth Control Measures:
Birth control measures have not been fully successful in India. This is evident from the fact that in 1981, every Indian women in the age group of 15 – 49 years gave birth to 5 children on an average. This partial success of birth control measures is regarded as one of the causes of high birth rate.