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Fertility and Mortality

According to the estimates made by the Central Bureau of Statistics in 1985, the crude birthrate was 44 per 1,000, and the crude death rate was almost 14 per 1,000. The total fertility rate, defined as the average number of children a woman might bear, was 6.3 children, with a variation between rural and urban fertility rates. The rural total fertility rate was 6.4, compared with 5.8 for urban areas. Both the crude birthrate and the total fertility rate have remained high and fairly constant for the past several decades, whereas the crude death rate has been declining consistently, thereby contributing to rapid population growth.

The most significant category of deaths was the infant mortality rate. Varying techniques for calculating infant mortality, however, have led to discrepant estimations. They ranged from more than 147 deaths per 1,000 in 1985 to between 101 and 128 per 1,000 in 1989. Infant mortality rates also varied widely among the three geographic regions, which may have been partly because of differing rates of migration and the expectancy that higher mortality rates are found in migrant families. Nonetheless, infant mortality was almost twice as high in rural areas as urban areas, a clear indication of the lack of health services in rural areas, and was high compared to many other Asian countries (see Health-Care Facilities , this ch.).

Data as of September 1991