National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) 2019-21: Maharashtra


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 Maharashtra – published in March 2021 – presents information covering 36 districts. The Indian Institute of Health Management Research and TRIOs Development Support, New Delhi, conducted the fieldwork for the report between June 19 and December 20, 2019, covering 31,643 households, 33,755 women (aged 15-49 years) and 5,497 men (aged 15-54 years).

This 203-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. Approximately half (53 per cent) of the households surveyed in Maharashtra were in rural areas. Around 77 per cent of the households resided in pucca houses and 97.4 per cent of households had access to electricity.

  2. Of the households surveyed, 15 per cent were headed by women. Further, 80.6 per cent of the household heads in Maharashtra were Hindu, 10.2 per cent were Muslim and 6.1 per cent were Buddhist/Neo-Buddhists.

  3. Around 93.8 per cent of surveyed households had access to an ‘improved source’ of drinking water, such as piped water, public taps, standpipes, tube wells or boreholes. Basic sanitation facilities were accessible to 71 per cent of households in the state. The report notes that 17.4 per cent of households did not have any toilet facilities and used open spaces and fields for defecation.

  4. ‘Clean fuel’ – electricity, liquefied petroleum gas, natural gas – was used by 79.7 per cent of the total households surveyed in the state. The numbers were higher in urban areas (95.6 per cent) than in rural areas (65.4 per cent).

  5. In Maharashtra, 60.5 per cent of children (aged 2-4 years) attended preschool. Among children aged 6-17 years, school attendance was recorded at 92.5 per cent. Attendance was high (96.9 per cent) among children between the ages of 6-14 years but fell to 78.8 per cent among those aged 15-17 years.

  6. The median age at first marriage for women (aged 20-49 years) was 19.6 years. The total fertility rate in the state was recorded at 1.7 children per woman, a fall from the fertility rate of 1.87 children recorded in NFHS-4

  7. The report recorded the contraceptive prevalence rate among married women (aged 15-49 years) to be 66 per cent. About 64 per cent of married women surveyed in Maharashtra used modern methods of contraception like sterilisation, pills, intrauterine devices, injectables and condoms.

  8. Among women aged 15-24, around 85 per cent used hygienic methods of menstrual protection. As many as 75.8 per cent used sanitary napkins, 1.7 per cent used tampons and 0.1 per cent used menstrual cups.

  9. The infant mortality rate in Maharashtra reduced slightly from the NFHS-4 numbers of 23.9 deaths (before the age of one year) per 1,000 live births to 23.2 deaths in NFHS-5. During the same period, the under-five mortality rate also reduced slightly from 29.1 deaths (before the age of five years) to 28 deaths. Infant mortality rates were highest among people belonging to Scheduled Tribes (31 deaths).

  10. Of the women who had given birth in the five years prior to the survey, 81 per cent received antenatal care from a doctor and 12 per cent received care from an auxiliary nurse midwife, a lady health visitor, a nurse or a midwife. Almost 95 per cent of all births in the state took place in a health facility and 5.1 per cent took place at home.

  11. Among children (aged 12-23 months) 73.5 per cent were vaccinated against tuberculosis, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, and measles. Roughly, 5.2 per cent of the children in this age group had not received any vaccinations.

  12. The report notes that 69 per cent of children between the ages of 6-59 months were anaemic, an increase from the 54 per cent noted in NFHS-4. Anaemia was also recorded among 54 per cent of women and 22 per cent of men (aged 15-49 years) in the state. 

  13. Among the people surveyed in the state, 88.4 per cent of women and 95.1 per cent of men had heard of HIV/AIDS. However, only 34.4 per cent of women and 42.6 per cent of men had ‘comprehensive knowledge’ of it.

  14. For every 100,000 persons in Maharashtra, 131 were estimated to have medically treated tuberculosis. As per self-reports (questionnaires answered without researcher guidance), per 100,000 men and women each, 1,523 men and 1,547 women had asthma, and 2,340 men and 1,721 women had diabetes.

  15. In the 12 months preceding the survey, only 41 per cent of women compared to 82 per cent of men (aged 15-49 years) were employed.

  16. Among women between the ages of 18-49 surveyed in the state, 26 per cent reported having experienced sexual or physical violence and five per cent women reported both sexual and physical violence. Only two per cent of these women sought help from the police.

    Focus and Factoids by Aashna Jain.


    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: S.K. Singh, Hemkhothang Lhungdim, Chander Shekhar, Fred Arnold, Laxmi Kant Dwivedi, Sarang Pedgaonkar and Y. Vaidehi


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


Mar, 2021