National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) 2015-16: Himachal Pradesh


Since 1992, the International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai, has conducted the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) for the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The survey provides detailed information on population, health and nutrition in each state and union territory of India.

This state report on Himachal Pradesh presents the important findings of the survey’s fourth round, conducted in 13 districts from February 3 to August 19, 2016. Previous NFHS surveys were conducted in 1992-93, 1998-99 and 2005-06.

NFHS-4 surveyed 572,000 households in 640 districts of India (as per the 2011 Census). In Himachal Pradesh, data was gathered from 9,000 homes; 9,929 women (aged 15-49) and 2,417 men (aged 15-54) were interviewed.

The survey collected information on the socio-economic characteristics of households, education, fertility, family planning, infant and child mortality, maternal and child health, reproductive health, sexual behaviour, marriage, domestic violence, attitudes towards gender roles, HIV/AIDS status, nutrition, water, sanitation, and health services and insurance.


  1. Only 11 per cent of the households surveyed in Himachal Pradesh were in urban areas; the rest were in rural areas.

  2. A total of 14 per cent of households did not have any sanitation facilities and family  members had to defecate in the open. This was more common in rural areas, where 16 per cent didn’t have sanitation facilities, as compared to 4 per cent in urban areas.

  3. The state’s overall sex ratio was 1,078 females per 1,000 males, but it was 915 females per 1,000 males for the under-seven population.

  4. School attendance was 99 per cent for children in the 6-14 age group. It dropped to 87 per cent in the 15-17 age bracket – and in this age group, 88 per cent of boys attended school as compared to 86 per cent of girls.

  5. 37 per cent of women aged 15-49 had completed 12 or more years of schooling compared to 43 per cent of men.

  6. 9 per cent of women aged 20-24 were married before the age of 18, down from 12 per cent in NFHS-3 (2005-06).

  7. 3 percent of 17-year-old women had ‘begun childbearing’, that is, they had already had a live birth or were pregnant with their first child. The number increased to 6 per cent among 19-year-old women. Young women who belonged to the Scheduled Castes were twice as likely to have ‘begun childbearing’ as women who did not belong to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes or Other Backward Classes.

  8. A majority of families showed a strong preference for sons. Among women with two children, 96 per cent with one or two sons wanted no more children compared to only 67 per cent of women with two daughters. The proportion of married women with two children who didn’t want any more (irrespective of how many sons they had), decreased from 96 to 93 per cent since NFHS-3.

  9. The report says that data indicates that sex selective abortion was common, particularly among women with two children – 50 per cent of women with two children and no sons, who did the ultrasound test during their third pregnancy, gave birth to boys as compared to 35 per cent who gave birth to girls.

  10. Unplanned pregnancy was common. The percentage of married women aged 15-49 who used at least one contractive declined from 71 per cent in NFHS-3 to 57 per cent in this survey.

  11. The infant mortality rate (for babies before the age of one) in Himachal Pradesh was 34 per 1,000 live births.

  12. Around 76 per cent of births took place in public sector healthcare facilities and 23 per cent at home.

  13. Despite a decrease in the stunting, thinness and the number of underweight children, malnutrition among children remained a major problem. Among adults, 45 per cent of women and 40 per cent of men were either too thin or overweight or obese.

  14. 19 per cent of women believed it was justified for a husband to beat his wife. Of the women facing domestic violence, around 55 per cent neither sought help nor informed anyone about the incidents of violence.    

    Focus and Factoids by Ritwika Mitra.


International Institute of Population Sciences (IIPS), Mumbai

Contributors: B. Paswan, Abhishek Singh and S.K. Singh


Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India


01 Sep, 2017