A viral message on the internet claims that 167 Muslim children are born daily in government hospitals in Kerala, purportedly outnumbering those of other religions. The message further adds that Muslim birth rate far outnumber those of other religions across the country.
Additionally, the claim says, "To implement Talibani Sharia law and make India a Muslim state, the action is going on in full speed."
BOOM found these claims to be false. The Kerala government does not furnish religion-specific information for institutions such as government or private hospitals. Similarly, the Union government does not provide data on births categorised by religion at the national level.
Previously, BOOM had verified a similar claim which stated that Delhi accounted for 167 births of Muslim children in government hospitals daily, vastly outnumbering newborns of other religious communities. We found that the viral posts falsely stated that Muslim newborns outnumbered those of other religions in government hospitals in Delhi and across the country.
BOOM analysed the Kerala government's Annual Vital Statistics Report 2021 (latest available), published by the Department of Economics and Statistics and further analysed official data from the Vital Statistics of India reports based on the Civil Registration System 2020, the latest available, for the pan-India claim. We found both the claims to be incorrect.
Government of Kerala
Claim 1: "The record of child birth in a day in government hospital in Kerala is: Hindu (37), Christian (12), Sikh (17), Muslim (167)."
While the government of Kerala keeps an overall record of data on births based on religion, data specifically related to religion-wise break-up of births in institutions such as government and private hospitals is not available. Apart from the overall religion-based break-up on total births, the only other information broken down on religious lines is the age of the mother at the time of giving birth, the birth order of the children and whether it took place in an urban or rural setting.
The latest release of this data pertains to 2021, which was published by the Kerala government in May, 2023.
In 2021, Kerala recorded 4,19,767 births. This means that the state saw around 1,150 births per day. These figures include the rural and the urban population.
Of these, newborns who were born into a Hindu family accounted for the most number of births (1,81,396 or 43.2% births were Hindu). This was followed by Muslims (1,69,296) accounting for 40.3% of the births and Christians (14.2%), among other religions.
This means that around 497 newborns are born into Hindu families per day whereas approximately 464 are born into Muslim families.
Further, the government also provides data related to institutional (government and private hospitals) births in Kerala. More than 4.14 lakh births took place in hospitals across Kerala in 2021. Of these, 32.1% of the births were in government hospitals whereas 68% were in private or non-government hospitals.
There is no religion-wise break down on the institutional status of births as the claim states.
Claim 2: "All India highest record of child birth in a day: Hindu (3,337), Christian (1,222), Sikh (1,117), Muslim (58,167)."
This claim is false because the Union government does not provide national data related to births by religion.
Note: The data in the latest CRS report pertains to the year 2020. The report was released in 2022.
Sharp decline in fertility rate among Muslims over the last two decades
Muslims have the highest fertility rate (average number of children born to a woman in her lifetime) as compared to the other religious groups in the country. However, according to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5), the fertility rate of the Muslim community has seen the most significant decrease in comparison to other religious communities.
Every religious group in India has seen its fertility fall. The fertility rate among Hindus has dropped from 3.3 children per woman in 1992-93 to 1.94 in the latest NFHS-5 survey. Among Muslims, it has dropped from 4.4 children per woman in 1992-93 to 2.3 in 2019-21.
Data indicates a 46.5% decline in fertility rates among Muslims since 1992-93 and a 41.2% decrease among Hindus.
Using 2011 Census data, a study by Ghosh (2018) found that regions with high fertility levels were marked by high fertility across various groups, regardless of socio-religious affiliation or women's educational attainment. The same pattern was observed in regions with low fertility rates.
Similarly, according to a report from the PEW Research Center, "people’s religion alone does not determine how many children they will have."
Population growth is influenced not just by the number of children women bear but also by the distribution of women in their childbearing years. Younger populations, with more women entering their prime childbearing age, typically experience faster growth compared to older populations. Moreover, factors such as geographical location within India, historical context, and cultural norms, contribute to individuals' decisions regarding family-related matters, the report stated.