Estimation and Analysis of Dzongkhag Fertility in Bhutan

by Pema Namgay, Master of Arts in Demography (2010)

This study estimated the total fertility rate (TFR) of Bhutan and its twenty dzongkhags, districts in Bhutan, using the direct and indirect methods. The direct method is the TFR estimated from births in the last 12 months, on the other hand, the indirect method is the TFR estimated based on data about all children ever born (CEB) using Coale and Trusell version of the Brass’ method (P/F ratio) to arrive at the most reasonable ratio to adjust current. The estimated TFRs using these two methods were also compared across all dzongkhags and Bhutan. These estimates used the first Population and Housing Census in Bhutan (PHCB) conducted in 2005.

The present study further analyzed fertility of the dzongkhags across urban-rural residence, education and the employment status of the women. The differential analyses made use of fertility measures using the aforementioned direct estimation and indirect P/F ratio estimation plus the mean CEB of women. The mean CEB of women 40-49 years old who are nearing the end of childbearing gives an approximation of completed fertility.

The estimated TFRs using the P/F ratio method suggests a decline in fertility in Bhutan and the twenty districts. At the national level, the fertility decline is also supported by the TFR estimated for 1994 and 2000 using the 1994 and 2000 National Health Surveys which are 5.6 and 4.6 per woman, respectively. Comparing the TFR estimated by the direct method in comparison with the P/F method indicated that the former are underestimated.

The fertility of the dzongkhags across urban/rural residence, education and employment status signified a strong relationship between fertility and education while the relationship of fertility with employment status and residence varied across the dzongkhags.