National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) 2015-2016: Assam


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 Assam presents the important findings of the survey’s fourth round, conducted in all 27 districts of the state between November 6, 2015 and March 31, 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 (Census 2011). In Assam, data was gathered from 24,542 households; 28,447 women (aged 15-49) and 4,191 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 16 per cent of the households surveyed were in urban areas and on average, each family had five members. 14 per cent of all households were headed by women; these households constituted  11 per cent of the population.

  2. 63.8 per cent of all households were headed by Hindus, 32.5 by Muslims, 3.3 per cent by Christians, and 0.3 per cent by ‘Others’.

  3. Of all the households, 11 per cent were headed by persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes, 13 per cent by persons from the Scheduled Tribes, and 27 per cent by persons from the Other Backward Classes. The remaining belonged to the ‘Other’ category or their caste/tribe was not known. 

  4. Around 25 per cent of families lived in a pucca (permanent) structure and 78 per cent had electricity. 11 per cent of all families defecated in the open, down from 24 per cent at the time of NFHS-3.

  5. 96 per cent of urban households and 86 per cent of rural households had a mobile phone.

  6. 84 per cent of all households had a bank or post office account. 42 per cent   had a below poverty line (BPL) card, up from 19 per cent in NFHS-3. And 48 per cent of rural households and 16 per cent of urban households owned agricultural land.

  7. Among women aged 15-19, 14 per cent had already had a delivery or were pregnant with their first child – and of these, 32 per cent were 19-year-old-women.

  8. There was a strong preference for sons – 18 per cent of both women and men wanted more sons than daughters, but only 3-4 per cent of both women and men wanted more daughters than sons.

  9. The births of 94 per cent of children under 5 were registered with the civil authorities, and 86 per cent of children had a birth certificate.

  10. 76 per cent of women and 72 per cent of men felt that an ideal family had two or fewer children. 61 per cent of married women and 58 per cent of married men wanted no more children, were sterilised or had a spouse who was sterilised.

  11. Knowledge of contraception was almost universal, but some methods were  less well known. 67 per cent of married women knew about ‘injectables’ and 24 per cent knew about female condoms. 42 per cent of all women knew about emergency contraception.   

  12. Among women who gave birth in the five years before the survey, 83 per cent received antenatal care for their last birth from a health professional,59 per cent from a doctor, and 24 per cent from an auxiliary nurse midwife, ‘lady health visitor’, nurse or midwife. 11 per cent of women did not receive any antenatal care.

  13. Among children under 5 years, 36 per cent were stunted, which indicates that they had been undernourished for some time; 17 per cent were wasted (low weight for height), 6 per cent were severely wasted, and 30 per cent were underweight.

  14. 79 per cent of children in the 6-17 age group attended school – 85 per cent in urban areas and 78 per cent in rural areas.

  15. In the 12 months before the survey, 19 per cent of women and 85 per cent of men (both in the 15-49 age group) were employed. Among employed women, 91 per cent earned cash (of these, 18 per cent earned in cash and kind) and 7 per cent were not paid at all.

  16. 24 per cent of all women had experienced physical or sexual violence but only 7 per cent of these women had sought help.

    Focus and Factoids by Madhuri Chutia.

    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: H. Lhungdim, Manas R. Pradhan, Laxmi Kant Dwivedi and Alex Izmukhambetov


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


01 Sep, 2017