The educational attainment of couples has a very strong bearing on the number of children born. Educational attainment, especially of women, is one of the indicators of modernisation and the status of women in Society.

In low fertility countries, historically the relations between fertility and the educational attainment of the wife been a negative one, in the sense that the higher the education level, the lower was the family size.

In some more recent investigations, however, it has been observed that the curve ten to go up slightly at the highest educational levels.

In the high fertility countries, such as Egypt, Taiwan and Chile (Greater Santiago) a distinct negative relationship has be observed between the educational attainments of the woman as the number of children born to her.


In a high fertility country like India, not many studies have been conducted on the relationship between the educational attainment of the woman and her family size.

So far it has been possible to study the effects of the education” attainment of woman on fertility in urban areas, especially in big- sized cities and metropolitan areas, where educational programmed have been taken advantage of by almost all sections of the population.

In Bangalore City, women with high school or college education were found to have a smaller family than those with a lower educational attainment.

The sixteenth round of the Nation? Sample Survey (1960-61 urban areas) also brought out a clear-cut relationship between the educational attainment of the married urban woman and her completed family size.


It was observed that the complete average family size was 6.10, 6.32 and 6.25 respectively for the illiterate for those whose education did not go beyond the primary school level, and for those who had completed their primary school education. For those who had the secondary school education the average family size was 4.25 and 2.62 respectively. 24

Two Indian studies have established a distinct relationship between the education of the woman and fertility. The first study was conducted in the metropolitan city of Greater Bombay in 1966,and the second in Panaji, Goa, in 1969.

A negative association between the educational attainment of currently married women and fertility was observed in Greater Bombay; and this association was sharp and consistent for each age group.

The nearly completed family size in the age group of 40 and above for women, who were matriculates or had studied beyond that level, was 2.95, which was distinctly lower than the corresponding average for women with a lower educational attainment. (Details about this relationship are presented in Table 9.7.)


In Panaji, it was found that the average number of children ever born, standardised for age, was 3.51 for those who were either illiterate or had studied up to primary school level, 3.45 for those who had some secondary school education but had not passed the matriculation examination and 2.57 for those

Standardized with respect to age suing the age distribution of all currently married women as standard. Source: J.R. Rele and Tara Kanitkar, “Residence Background and Fertility in Greater Bombay,” Population Studies, Vol. 28, No. 2, July 1974, p. 303.

Who had either passed the matriculation examination or had studied beyond that level.

One recent national study carried out in 1992-93, very vividly the existence of fertility differentials by background characteristics of the mother. Table 9.9 show differentials by education are substantial, with current for declining steadily from 4 children per woman for illiterate to 2.2 children per woman for women with at least a high education.


Cohort fertility is also higher among illiterate than among women with at least a high school education children compared to 2.8 children). Differences in current from by religion and caste/tribe are less pronounced but still subs.

The Muslims have considerably higher fertility than any religious groups. On average Muslim women have one child than Hindu women?

However, among Muslims, there has considerable decline in fertility over time (compare children born of 5.83 against current total fertility rate of 4.41 children woman).