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


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 West Bengal presents the important findings of the survey’s fourth round, conducted in 19 districts between February 25 and July 25, 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 (Census 2011). In West Bengal, data was gathered from 15,327 households; 17,668 women (aged 15-49) and 2,645 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, and maternal and child health. It also gathered information on reproductive health, sexual behaviour, marriage, domestic violence, and attitudes towards gender roles. And it included information on the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, nutrition, water and sanitation, health services and insurance.


  1. Around 47 per cent of the surveyed households lived in a pucca (permanent) structure and 94 per cent had electricity. 25 per cent defecated in the open, an improvement from 40 per cent in NFHS-3.

  2. 85 per cent of children in the 6-17 age group attended school. Only 14 per cent of women (aged 15-49) and 22 per cent of men (aged 15-54) had completed 12 or more years of schooling.

  3. The fertility rate in West Bengal was 1.8 children per woman. 18 per cent of girls between 15 and 19 already had children, down from 25 per cent in NFHS-3. 13 per cent of women and 19 per cent of men wanted more sons than daughters.

  4. 71 per cent of all married women (aged 15-49) used contraception. 39 per cent of men in the same age group thought that contraception was ‘women’s business’ and 67 per cent knew that a condom, if used correctly, could protect against pregnancy most of the time. Contraceptive use was higher in the rural areas (72 per cent) than in urban areas (69 per cent).

  5. The infant mortality rate was 31 per 1,000 live births for teenage mothers and 26 per 1,000 live births for mothers in the 20-29 age group.

  6. 88 per cent of mothers who had given birth in the five years before the survey had received antenatal care for their last birth from a health professional (a doctor, an auxiliary nurse midwife, a ‘lady health visitor’, a nurse or a midwife). 75 per cent of the births in the last five years took place in a public health facility.

  7. 84 per cent of 12-23 month-old children had received all basic vaccinations against six major childhood illnesses (tuberculosis, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio and measles), while 2 per cent received no vaccinations at all.

  8. 54 per cent of 6-59 month-old children, 62 per cent of women (aged 15-49), and 30 per cent of men (aged 15-54) had anaemia.

  9. According to self-reports (responses chosen from a questionnaire without researcher interference), 1,727 women per 100,000 and 1,556 men per 100,000 had diabetes. The numbers for asthma were 3,287 women per 100,000 and 1,791 men per 100,000, respectively.

  10. 59 per cent of men and 9 per cent of women used some form of tobacco. 

  11. 33 per cent of all households had health insurance that covered at least one member of the family. Health insurance coverage was more common in rural areas (36 per cent) than in urban areas (28 per cent).

  12. Only 19 per cent of women and 26 per cent of men had comprehensive knowledge about HIV/AIDS.

  13. In the 12 months preceding the survey, 24 per cent of women and 86 per cent of men (both in the 15-49 age group) were employed. 44 per cent of women had a bank or savings account that they used themselves. Of these, 73 per cent had 12 or more years of schooling.

  14. 23 per cent of women owned a house and 17 per cent owned land, either alone or jointly with someone else.

  15. One-third of the women surveyed had experienced physical or sexual violence and only 11 per cent of these women sought help.

    Focus and Factoids by Sushmita Iyer.


International Institute of Population Sciences (IIPS), Mumbai
Contributors: B. Paswan, Dhananjay W. Bansod, Manas R. Pradhan and Pav Govindasamy


Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, New Delhi


01 Oct, 2017