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


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 Karnataka presents the important findings of the survey’s fourth round, conducted in 30 districts between February and July 2015. 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 Karnataka, data was gathered from 23,842 households; 26,291 women (aged 15-49) and 4,106 men (aged 15-54) were interviewed.

The survey collected information on the socio-economic characteristics of the 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 and sanitation, health services and insurance.


  1. Nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of the households surveyed lived in a pucca house (permanent structure) and 98 per cent of households had electricity. About one-third (34 per cent) of households did not use a sanitation facility and defecated in the open. This was an improvement from the 53 per cent at the time of NFHS-3.

  2. Around 90 per cent of children in the 6-17 age group attended school. Only 23 per cent of women had completed 12 or more years of schooling, as against 32 per cent of men.

  3. The total fertility rate in Karnataka was 1.8 children per woman. Eight per cent of teenage girls (in the 15-19 age group) already had children, down from 17 per cent in NFHS-3. And 11 per cent of women and 13 per cent of men wanted more sons than daughters.

  4. 42 per cent of men (aged 15-49) thought contraception was 'women’s business'. Fifty-two per cent of married women (aged 15-49) used contraceptives. Contraceptive use was higher in rural areas (55 per cent) than in urban areas (48 per cent).

  5. Almost 80 per cent of the women who gave birth in the five years before the survey, received antenatal care for their last birth from a health professional – doctors, auxiliary nurse midwives, ‘lady health visitors’, nurses or midwives. However, 11 per cent did not receive any such care. A large majority (94 per cent) of births took place in a public sector health facility.

  6. Less than two-thirds (63 per cent) of the children surveyed between the ages of 12 and 23 months received all the basic vaccinations against six major childhood illnesses (tuberculosis, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio and measles) while 6 per cent received no vaccinations at all.

  7. 61 per cent of children between the ages of 6 and 59 months were anaemic. About one-fifth of men (18 per cent) and 45 per cent of women had anaemia.

  8. According to self-reports (questionnaires answered without researcher guidance), 2,630 women per 100,000 and 2,573 men per 100,000 (both in the 15-49 age group) had diabetes. The numbers for asthma were 1,490 women per 100,000 and 736 men per 100,000. The prevalence of any heart disease was higher among women (821 women per 100,000) than men (739 men per 100,000).

  9. 34 per cent of men, and only 4 per cent of women (aged 15-49) used some form of tobacco.

  10. Only 28 per cent of the households in the state had at least one member covered by any kind of health insurance. Health insurance coverage was more common in urban areas (32 per cent of households) than in rural areas (23 per cent).

  11. Only 10 per cent of women and 26 per cent of men had comprehensive knowledge of HIV/AIDS.

  12. 35 per cent of women aged 15-49 were employed – for men in the same age group, the number was  84 per cent. More than half (59 per cent) of the women had bank accounts that they themselves used. Of these, 74 per cent had completed 12 or more years of schooling.

  13. Around 50 per cent of all women owned a house and 40 per cent owned land, either by themselves or jointly with someone else.

  14. 24 per cent of women in the state had experienced physical or sexual violence. One in 15 women who had ever been pregnant had experienced physical violence during one or more of her pregnancies.

  15. Only 4 per cent of women who had experienced physical or sexual violence, sought help from the police. 60 per cent neither sought help nor told anyone about the violence

    Focus and Factoids by Sushmita Iyer.


International Institute of Population Sciences (IIPS), Mumbai

Contributors: Dhananjay Bansod, Manas R. Pradhan, Sarang Pedgaonkar and Anne Cross 


Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India


01 Sep, 2017