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Centre for South Asian Studies: Research


Demographic change in north India

Demographic change in north India: a longitudinal micro-study

This  research in 2003-5 was the third round of qualitative and small-scale  quantitative demographic data collection from two villages (one Hindu  and one Muslim in Bijnor district in north-west Uttar Pradesh, India)  that we first studied in 1982-83.We explored demographic changes,  educational experiences, aspects of gender politics (e.g. young women's  schooling, prevalence and scale of dowry payments), commercialisation  and the impact of economic liberalisation on village life. The project  was funded by a grant from the Wellcome Trust.  

Principal Investigator Professor Patricia Jeffery

Sociology and Centre for South Asian Studies
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Findings in brief:

Both  villages have expanded rapidly (over 3% per year) although fertility  has dropped by 13% in the Hindu village and by 1.5% in the Muslim  village. Demographic pressure on the land and increased expenditures  connected with consumerism are associated with more out-migration of  young men in search of off-farm incomes. Schooling is increasingly  important in structuring and reproducing social inequalities, but few  poor women (whether Hindu or Muslim) have high levels of schooling.

Liberalisation  and the creeping privatisation of health services have accelerated  since 1992, and the poor quality government health services of 1982-83  have deteriorated further. Villagers do not use the run-down government  health services for maternity care and poor women-especially from  ex-Untouchable groups and Muslims-are inhibited from using government  health services by discriminatory practices of the staff and the  uncertain and often excessive costs of nominally 'free' services.  Private maternity clinics, however, offer only a few antenatal or  preventative services, and are costly. The inappropriate use of  injections of synthetic oxytocin for labour augmentation (administered  by untrained practitioners, after inadequate assessments, in the  labouring woman's home, and without monitoring) has risen from 13% to  50% of deliveries. Hospital deliveries have risen from about 1% to 10%,  almost all unplanned, and often bankrupting poor families. Neo-natal  mortality rates increased, child (under-5) deaths declined but gender  differentials in mortality increased. In the Hindu village, the sex  ratio at birth rose from 1293 to 1412 males per 1000 females, whereas  in the Muslim village it declined from 1036 to 940. Interviews with  doctors running ultra-sound clinics reinforced our understandings of  the social distribution of sex preferences and female foeticide.

Related publications:

2006: Patricia Jeffery and Roger Jeffery: Confronting Saffron Demography: Religion, fertility and women's status in India (Three Essays Collective, New Delhi), x + 162 pp. ISBN 81-88789-38-0 (Hb) and 81-88789-40-2 (Pb)

2007: Roger Jeffery, Patricia Jeffery and Mohan Rao: “Safe Motherhood Initiatives: Contributions from Small-scale Studies”, Indian Journal of Gender Studies, 14, 2: 285-294 (Report of the project dissemination workshop)

2007: Patricia Jeffery, Abhijit Das, Jashodhara Dasgupta, and Roger  Jeffery: “Unmonitored Intrapartum Oxytocin use in Home Deliveries:  Evidence from Uttar Pradesh, India”, in Reproductive Health Matters 15, 30: 172-178

Forthcoming 2008: Patricia Jeffery, Roger Jeffery and Craig Jeffrey:  “Disputing Contraception: Muslim reform, secular change and fertility”,  in Filippo Osella and Caroline Osella (eds): Special volume of Modern Asian Studies (based on papers presented at SOAS workshop on Islamic Reform, May 2005)

Forthcoming 2008: Patricia Jeffery and Roger Jeffery: “'Money itself  discriminates': Obstetric emergencies in the time of liberalisation”, Contributions to Indian Sociology

  Forthcoming: Roger Jeffery and Patricia Jeffery: Governmentality and  Reproduction: Villagers, the State, and Population in Rural Bijnor,  1982-2004, in Diane Mines and Nicolas Yazgi (eds): Do Villages Matter? (Based on papers presented at 18th European Modern South Asian Studies Conference, Lund, July 2004)

Safe route through floods