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


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 Punjab presents the important findings of the survey’s fourth round, conducted in 20 districts between January 28 and June 20, 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 Punjab, data was gathered from 16,449 households; 19,484 women (aged 15-49) and 3,250 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. 81 per cent of households in Punjab lived in a pucca (permanent) structure and all households had electricity. A total of 7 per cent did not use sanitation facilities – open defecation was more common among rural households (11 per cent) than urban households (2 per cent). Two-thirds of households used clean fuel for cooking.

  2. In the 6-14 age group, school attendance was almost universal (96 per cent) while it was 82 per cent in the 15-17 age group.

  3. Only a little over one-third of women and men between 15 and 49 had completed 12 or more years of schooling, and 81 per cent of women and 88 per cent of men were literate. In NFHS-4, literate persons are those who have either completed at least Class 6 or passed a simple literacy test conducted as part of the survey.

  4. 8 per cent of women between the ages of 20 and 24 had got married before the legal minimum age of 18. This is a down from 20 per cent in NFHS-3.

  5. There was a strong preference for sons – 12 per cent of women and 14 per cent of men wanted more sons than daughters, but only 1-2 per cent of women and men wanted more daughters than sons.

  6. 43 per cent of men aged 15-49 thought that contraception was ‘women’s business’ and 74 per cent knew that a condom, if used correctly, protected against pregnancies most of the time.

  7. The infant mortality rate was almost twice as high for Scheduled Caste children (40 deaths per 1,000 live births) than for Other Backward Class children (21 deaths per 1,000 live births).

  8. 89 percent of children aged 12-23 months received all the basic vaccinations against six major childhood illnesses: tuberculosis, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio and measles. Only 2 per cent had not received any vaccinations.

  9. Stunting among children decreased from 37 per cent to 26 per cent between NFHS-3 and NFHS-4, and the percentage of underweight children decreased from 25 per cent to 22 per cent. However, wasting among children increased from 9 to 16 per cent.

  10. More than half of all women (54 per cent) had anaemia, and the numbers had increased substantially (by 16 per cent) since NFHS-3. One-fourth of men aged 15-49 (26 per cent) were found to be anemic during NFHS-4. The prevalence of heart disease was more than twice as high among women (1,499 per 100,000) as among men (578 per 100,000).

  11. The private health sector was the main source of healthcare for about 7 out of every 10 households (73 per cent of urban and 71 per cent of rural households).

  12. 84 per cent of women aged 15-24 used a hygienic menstrual care method. Women with 12 or more years of schooling were twice as likely to use a hygienic method as women with no schooling.

  13. Only 19 per cent of all women aged 15-49 were employed in the 12 months preceding the survey; in the same period, 80 per cent of all men aged 15-49 were employed.

  14. Only 47 per cent of women knew of a microcredit programme in their area and just 2 per cent had ever taken a loan from one. Almost 59 per cent of women had a bank or savings account that they themselves used, and only 50 per cent of women were allowed visit the market, a health facility, places outside the village or other than community spaces, by themselves.

  15. 19 percent of women aged 15-49 had experienced physical or sexual violence. Women whose mothers faced domestic violence were more than twice as likely to be in abusive marriages themselves.

    Focus and Factoids by Lakshmi Ajikumar and Ashvita Singh.

    PARI Library's health archive project is part of an initiative supported by the Azim Premji University to develop a free-access repository of health-related reports relevant to rural India.


International Institute of Population Sciences (IIPS), Mumbai

Contributors: Abhishek Singh, B. Paswan, Manoj Alagarajan and Glen Heller


Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India


Oct, 2017