New Delhi: Yet again confirming the prevalence of child marriages in India, a new health survey has revealed that more boys than girls are getting married before the legal age of 21 years.
The survey has also revealed that every fourth girl marrying in rural Rajasthan and every fifth in Bihar and Jharkhand are below the legal age of 18 years.
The Mean age at marriage of females varies from 19.7 in Rajasthan to 22 years in Uttarakhand. For males, the mean marriage age is 22.2 in Rajasthan and a maximum of 27.6 in Assam.
The survey also reveals for the first time that a woman on an average gives birth to more than three children in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Rajasthan, with the highest of 5.9 children reported in Shrawasti district of Uttar Pradesh.
The Total Fertility Rate (TFR), the average number of children born to a woman during her entire reproductive span, is 3.6 for Uttar Pradesh and 3.7 for Bihar, where women in rural areas in both these states have a TFR of 3.9.
The Annual Health Survey was conducted by the Office of Registrar General, India in all the 284 districts (as per 2001 Census) in eight Empowered Action Group States of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Rajasthan, besides Assam for a three year period 2007 to 2009, carried out in 2010 and 2011.
These nine states account for about 48 per cent of the total population, 59 per cent of total births, 70 per cent of Infant Deaths, 75 per cent of Under-5 Deaths and 62 per cent of Maternal Deaths in the country.
They are the high focus states in view of their relatively higher fertility and mortality, Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, C Chandramouli said.