National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) 2019-21: 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, Government of India. The NFHS report for 2019-21 is the fifth in this series. It provides information on population, health and nutrition in 28 states, eight union territories, and 707 districts of India.

NFHS-5 presents district-level data on indicators such as population, fertility, family planning, infant and child mortality, maternal and child health, domestic violence and disability. This report on Assam – published in April 2021 – presents information covering 33 districts. Nielsen India Pvt. Ltd. conducted the fieldwork for the report between June 17, and December 21, 2019, covering 30,119 households, 34,979 women (aged 15-49 years) and 4,973 men (aged 15-54 years).

This 200-page document is divided into 14 sections: Introduction (Section 1); Household Characteristics (Section 2); Education (Section 3); Fertility (Section 4); Family Planning (Section 5); Infant and Child Mortality (Section 6); Maternal Health (Section 7); Child Health (Section 8); Breastfeeding, Nutrition, and Anaemia (Section 9); Adult Health and Health Care (Section 10); HIV/AIDS (Section 11); Sexual Behaviour (Section 12); Women’s Empowerment (Section 13); and Domestic Violence (Section 14).


  1. Around 84 per cent of households in Assam are located in rural areas and 32 per cent households live in pucca houses. Almost 93 per cent of households had access to electricity.

  2. The report notes that 86.4 per cent of the households surveyed in the state had access to an ‘improved’ source of drinking water. Basic sanitation services were accessible to 67.3 per cent of the households. Only four per cent of households had no toilet facilities and thus defecated in open spaces or fields, down from 11 per cent reported in NFHS-4.

  3. Among children aged 2-4 years in Assam, 35.7 per cent attended preschool – 35.1 per cent in rural areas and 40.9 per cent in urban areas. Almost 95 per cent of children aged 6-14 years attended school but the percentage dropped to 67.7 per cent among those between the ages of 15-17 years.

  4. Of the surveyed households, 96 per cent had a bank or post office account and 36 per cent owned agricultural land.

  5. The contraceptive prevalence rate in Assam increased from 52.4 per cent in NFHS-4 to 60.8 per cent in NFHS-5. Around 45 per cent of married women surveyed in the state used modern contraceptive methods like sterilisation, contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, injectables or condoms.

  6. Of young women aged 15-19 years, 12 per cent had already begun childbearing. This was a slight decrease from the number recorded in NFHS-4 – 14 per cent.

  7. In the five years preceding the survey, 84.1 per cent of total deliveries took place in health facilities – 74.4 per cent in public health facilities and 9.6 per cent in private health facilities. Around 15.6 per cent of births happened at home.

  8. Among women who gave birth in the five years preceding the survey, 60 per cent received antenatal care from a doctor and 25 per cent received care from an auxiliary nurse midwife, a lady health visitor, a nurse, or a midwife. Roughly four per cent of mothers (down from 11 per cent in NFHS-4) did not receive any antenatal care.

  9. The infant mortality rate in Assam declined from 48 deaths (before the age of one) per 1,000 live births during NFHS-4 to 32 deaths. During the same period, the under-five mortality rate also reduced from 57 deaths (before the age of five) per 1,000 live births to 39 deaths.

  10. The report states that among children under the age of five years, 35 per cent were stunted (too short for their age) and 22 per cent were wasted (too thin for their height). As many as nine per cent of children under the age of five years were severely wasted.

  11. As high as 68 per cent of children between the ages of 6-59 months were anaemic. Among the men and women surveyed in the state, around 66 per cent of women and 36 per cent of men were also anaemic.

  12. In Assam, 94 per cent of women and 98 per cent of men had heard of HIV/AIDS. However, only 19.2 per cent of women and 25.3 per cent of women possessed ‘comprehensive’ knowledge of it.

  13. In the 12 months preceding the survey, only 21 percent of women (aged 15-49 years) were employed compared to 82.9 per cent of men in the same age group.

  14. About 34 per cent of women between the ages of 18 and 49 years reported having experienced either physical or sexual violence and six per cent reported both physical and sexual violence. Only 10 per cent of the women who had experienced such violence reported ever seeking help.

    Focus and Factoids by Vinit Agarwal.

    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 for Population Sciences (IIPS), Mumbai

Contributors: Hemkhothang Lhungdim, Sarang Pedgaonkar, Laxmi Kant Dwivedi and K. Preeti Singha


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


Apr, 2021