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


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 West Bengal – published in June 2021 – presents information covering 20 districts. The Indian Institute of Health Management Research (IIHMR), Jaipur, conducted the fieldwork for the report between June 21 and November 8, 2019, covering 18,187 households, 21,408 women (aged 15-49 years) and 3,021 men (aged 15-54 years).

This 204-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. The survey found that 53 per cent of the households in West Bengal lived in a pucca house. Around 97 per cent of the households surveyed had access to electricity.

  2. About 89 per cent of the surveyed households in the state had access to toilet facilities. Moreover, about 12 per cent of the total households surveyed did not use an ‘improved sanitation facility’ (toilets not shared with other households), a noticeable decline compared to the 25 per cent noted in NFHS-4.

  3. The percentage of children (aged 6-17 years) who attended schools increased from 85 per cent in 2015-16 to 90 per cent in 2019. Only 18 per cent of women and 22 per cent of men (aged 15-49 years) in the state had completed 12 or more years of school education.

  4. The fertility rate in West Bengal was 1.6 children per woman, a decrease from the 1.8 children per woman in during NFHS-4. The survey found that as high as 16 per cent of women aged 15-19 years had already borne a child.

  5. Roughly 74 percent of married women used contraceptives. However, only 61 per cent used modern contraceptive methods like sterilisation, injectables, intrauterine devices, contraceptive pills and condoms. About 34 percent of the men surveyed considered the use of contraceptives to be “women’s concern”.

  6. The overall infant mortality rate in West Bengal reduced from 28 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2015-16 to 22 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2019. The infant mortality rate was recorded to be 29 deaths per 1,000 live births for mothers aged 15-19 years, 18 deaths for mothers aged 20-29 years, and 34 deaths for mothers aged 30-39 years.

  7. The under-five mortality rate – probability of death between birth and the fifth birthday – in the state declined from 32 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2015-16 to 25 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2019.

  8. In the five years preceding the survey, 92 per cent of the total births took place in healthcare facilities and eight per cent deliveries were performed at home. Among all surveyed women who had given birth in the five years prior to the survey, 84 per cent were provided antenatal care by a health professional. Among them, 71 percent were attended to by a doctor, while 13 percent were looked after by a midwife, a nurse, a lady health visitor, or an auxiliary nurse midwife.

  9. Among children aged 12-23 months, 88 percent were vaccinated against tuberculosis, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio and measles. Less than one per cent of the children from this age group had not been vaccinated at all.

  10. The survey notes that 69 per cent of children aged 6-59 months had anaemia, an increase from the 2015-16 estimates of 54 per cent. Additionally, 71 per cent of surveyed women and 39 per cent of men in the state were also noted to be anaemic.

  11. As per self-reports (responses chosen from a questionnaire without researcher interference) by men and women between 15 and 49 years of age, 3,017 women per 100,000 women and 2,255 men per 100,000 men had diabetes. The numbers for asthma were 4,386 women per 100,000 and 2,258 men per 100,000.

  12. Only 29 per cent of the households in West Bengal had any sort of health insurance that covered at least one household member. The percentage of health insurance coverage was higher in rural areas (31 per cent) than in urban areas (26 per cent).

  13. The survey recorded that only 19 per cent of women and 16 per cent of men in the state had ‘comprehensive knowledge’ about HIV/AIDS. However, around 67 per cent women and 59 per cent men stated that they would be willing to look after a relative with HIV/AIDS in their home.

  14. In the 12 months prior to the survey, 22 per cent of women and 87 per cent of men were employed. The percentage of women who had a bank or savings account that they used themselves significantly increased from 44 per cent in 2015-16 to 77 percent in 2019.

  15. Of the people surveyed, 22 per cent of women and 52 per cent of men owned a house alone or jointly. Around 17 per cent of women and 34 per cent of men owned land, either alone or jointly.

  16. The survey states that 26 per cent of the women (aged 18-49 years) had experienced physical violence and nine per cent had faced sexual violence. For women who were or had ever been married, the most common perpetrator was their husband.

    Focus and Factoids by Debadrita Saha. 

    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: Chander Shekhar, Hemkhothang Lhungdim, S.K. Singh and Manish Singh


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


Jun, 2021