Karki, Yagya B., and Radha Krishna. 2008. Factors Responsible for the Rapid Decline of Fertility in Nepal— An Interpretation: Further Analysis of the 2006 Nepal Demographic and Health Survey. DHS Further Analysis Reports No. 52. Calverton, Maryland, USA: Macro International
The total fertility rate (TFR) in Nepal in mid-1976 was estimated at 6.3 births per woman, contraceptive use among currently married women was low (3 percent) and the proportion married was high. Given these demographic parameters, no immediate change in the fertility rate in Nepal seemed plausible. In recent years however, several researchers have noted that a fertility transition has been underway in Nepal. Data from the 2006 Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) show an unprecedented decrease in the TFR of 3.1 births per woman in 2006 from 4.1 births per woman in 2001. Many factors—socioeconomic and biological—may have contributed to this precipitous decline in fertility. However, actual levels and rates of change in fertility are less certain because they also depend on the quality of data and the accuracy of measurements used. Ideally, it would have been better to re-examine the levels and trends of fertility from the survey data with earlier surveys, as has been carried out by Retherford R. D. and Thapa, S. (1999 and 2004). Instead, the focus of this paper is on examining the possible factors underlying the recent unprecedented declines in fertility. The principal measure of fertility in this part of the analysis is the TFR.
Survey data are used to analyze the proximate determinants of fertility decline. The results of the analysis provide quantitative estimates of the contribution of changes in contraceptive use, marriage, breastfeeding and postpartum insusceptibility to the observed decline.