“An important aspect about country level data of fertility to keep in mind is that there can be considerable heterogeneity within countries, which are hidden in the mean fertility which were discussed in this entry. The mean Total Fertility Rate for India in 2010 was 2.8 (UN Data): But this average hides the fact that the fertility in many Southern Indian regions was below 1.5 (which is similar to the mean fertility in many European countries), while the fertility in Northern India was still higher than 5 children per woman (which is as high as the mean of the African countries with the highest fertility).”
This is a stunning example of uneven development and regional differences within countries. Too often we discuss countries as if the situation inside the borders of one country is the same throughout it, even if the geographic contexts can be wildly different.
Questions to Ponder: Why are the fertility rates in so different in northern and southern India? How does this regional imbalance impact the country? What are other examples of major differences within a country?