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


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 Meghalaya – published in July 2021 – presents information covering 11 districts. IQVIA Consulting and Information Services India Private Limited, Mumbai, conducted the fieldwork for the report between July 8 and November 15, 2019, covering 10,148 households, 13,089 women (aged 15-49 years) and 1,824 men (aged 15-54 years).

This 206-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. Over three-fourths (78 per cent) of the households in Meghalaya were located in rural areas and, on an average, they consisted of 4.8 members. As many as 45 per cent of the households surveyed lived in pucca houses and 92 per cent had access to electricity.

  2. Around 4.2 per cent of all households surveyed in the state did not use any sanitation facility. They were, instead, using open fields or spaces. Basic sanitation services were available in 81.7 per cent of the households.

  3. As many as 76.5 per cent of households in Meghalaya had access to basic drinking water services but only 31.8 per cent had water piped into their dwelling, yard or plot.

  4. In the 12 months preceding the survey, only 47.7 per cent of all women surveyed were employed compared to 81.7 per cent men – both between the ages of 15-49 years.

  5. The report notes that preschool attendance in the state among children aged 2-4 years was 26.5 per cent – 36.7 per cent in urban areas and 24.8 per cent in rural areas. Overall, more girls (27.6 per cent) attended preschool than boys (25.3 per cent).

  6. School attendance was recorded at 93.9 per cent for children in the age group of 6-14 years. This dropped down to 79.2 per cent among those in the 15-17 years age group.

  7. The median age at first marriage for women was 22.1 years among women aged of 25-49 years. The report states that 17 per cent of women (aged 20-24 years) had married before reaching the legal minimum age of 18 years.

  8. The fertility rate in Meghalaya decreased from three children per woman in NFHS-4 to 2.9 children per woman in NFHS-5. The total fertility rate was recorded lower among Hindus (0.82 children) than Muslims (1.4 children) or Christians (3.2 children).

  9. The knowledge of contraception was very high in the state but the current use of contraception among married women was as low as 27.4 per cent. The figure was a slight increase from NFHS-4 numbers of 24.3 per cent.

  10. The infant mortality rate in the state increased between NFHS-4 and NFHS-5 from 29.9 deaths (before the age of one year) per 1,000 live births to 32.3 deaths. During the same period, the under-five mortality rate also rose marginally from 39.7 deaths (before the age of five years) per 1,000 live births to 40 deaths.

  11. In the five years preceding the survey, around 62 per cent of women received antenatal care from a doctor and 22 per cent received care from an auxiliary nurse midwife, a lady health visitor, a nurse or a midwife. Roughly 12.6 per cent of women in Meghalaya had not received any antenatal care.

  12. Among children aged 12-23 months, around 63.8 per cent had been vaccinated against major diseases including tuberculosis, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio and measles. As many as 91 per cent children had been at least partially vaccinated, the report adds.

  13. The report notes that, in Meghalaya, 45 per cent of children (aged 6-59 months) suffered from anaemia. Further, 53.8 per cent of women and 25.5 per cent of men (aged 15-49 years) were also anaemic.

  14. Among those in the 15-49 years age group, only 14.5 per cent of women and 15.9 per cent of men had ‘comprehensive knowledge’ about HIV/AIDS. About 54 per cent of women in Meghalaya knew that consistent usage of a condom can help prevent HIV compared to 63 per cent of men.

  15. In the state, 16 per cent of women between the ages of 18-49 years reported having experienced either physical or sexual violence and four per cent reported experiencing both. As many as 64 per cent of women who had faced such violence had never sought help nor told anyone of it.

    Focus and Factoids by Asif Iqbal.


    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: Sarang Pedgaonkar, Hemkhothang Lhungdim, Laxmi Kant Dwivedi and Nirbhay Kumar Singh


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


Jul, 2022