National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) 2019-21: 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, 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 Karnataka – published in March 2021 – presents information covering 30 districts. Nielsen India Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai, conducted the fieldwork for the report between July 10 and December 11, 2019, covering 26,574 households, 30,455 women (aged 15-49 years) and 4,516 men (aged 15-54 years).

This 210-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. As per the report, 59 per cent of all households were located in rural areas. About 64 per cent of households in Karnataka lived in a pucca house and almost all (99 per cent) households had electricity. 

  2. On an average, households across Karnataka comprised 4.2 members. The overall sex ratio in Karnataka was noted to be 1,034 females per 1,000 males, and 23 per cent of households in the state were headed by women.

  3. Around 93 per cent of all surveyed households had access to basic drinking water, and 96 per cent obtained water from an improved source such as pipes, public taps, or tube wells. A greater proportion of urban households (59 per cent) got water piped directly into their dwelling compared to rural households (38 per cent).

  4. About 18 per cent of the total households (including 25 per cent of rural households) did not have access to a sanitation facility and instead used fields and other open spaces. As per the report, 82 per cent of all households surveyed had access to a toilet facility – this includes 93 per cent of urban households and 76 per cent of rural households.

  5. The report states that about 40 per cent each of all boys and girls between age of 2-4 years attended a preschool such as an anganwadi centre. Further, 92 per cent of all children between 6-17 years of age attended school. School attendance varied with age – 97 per cent of children aged 6-14 years attended school, but only 75 per cent of children aged 15-17 years did so.

  6. About 69 per cent of married women (aged 15-49 years) used some method of contraception, an increase from the 52 per cent noted during NFHS-4.

  7. The report states that 97 per cent of births, in the five years before the survey, took place in an institutional health facility – either public or private – and only three per cent took place at home.

  8. The infant mortality rate (IMR) was approximately 25 deaths (before the age of one) per 1,000 live births in Karnataka. This is lower than both Karnataka’s NFHS-4 IMR of 28, as well as India’s average IMR of 35 in NFHS-5.

  9. In the five years preceding the survey, 97 per cent of women who gave birth received antenatal care from either a health professional such as a doctor or nurse, or a midwife. The report adds that 91 per cent of mothers had a postnatal check after their last birth.

  10. Among children between the ages of 12-23 months, 84 per cent had received all the basic government recommended vaccinations against tuberculosis, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, and measles, 13 per cent were partially vaccinated, and three per cent were not immunized by vaccination at all.

  11. About 35 per cent of children under five years of age were stunted (too short for their age), 20 per cent were wasted (too thin for their height), and 33 per cent were underweight.

  12. Two-thirds (65.5 per cent) of children between the ages of 6-59 months were anaemic i.e., they had low levels of haemoglobin in their blood. This is an increase from the 61 per cent recorded in NFHS-4. About 47.8 per cent of women and 19.6 per cent of men (aged 15-49 years) surveyed in Karnataka had anaemia, the report adds.

  13. In Karnataka, 43 per cent of women (aged 18-49) surveyed had experienced some form of physical or sexual violence, while nine per cent had experienced both physical and sexual violence. About 44 per cent of women who have been married at some point had experienced physical violence of some kind from their husbands.

  14. The report states that 28 per cent of households in Karnataka have some form of health insurance that covers at least one member of the household.

    Focus and Factoids by Anvi Bahl.

    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: K.S. James, Sarang Pedgaonkar, Hemkhothang Lhungdim and Santosh B. Phad


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


Mar, 2021