Migration and family planning in the state with highest total fertility rate in India

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Background: This study examined the relationship between male out-migration and family planning (FP) behaviour of women in rural Bihar. Methods: Data was collected from 937 currently married women aged 15–34 years from two districts of Bihar, namely Nawada and Gopalganj. Respondents were selected through a multi-stage systematic sampling and were recruited from both low and high male out-migration blocks. Differences in FP outcomes—use of modern contraceptive methods, intention to use contraceptives in next 12 months and access to FP services—were assessed by volume of migration, husband’s migration status, frequency of return, and duration of husband’s stay at home during visits. Results: Women with migrant husbands were about 50% less likely to use modern contraceptive methods. Further, the odds of using modern contraceptives was about half among women with migrant husbands if they resided in high out-migration areas (HMA) than low out-migration areas (LMA) (15% vs 29%, AOR: 0·50, p = 0·017). A higher proportion of women with migrant husbands, specifically from HMA, reported greater intention of using contraceptives in next 12 months than their counterparts (37% vs 23%, AOR: 1·83, p = 0·015). Similarly, access to FP services was negatively associated with the volume of male out-migration, specifically for women with migrant husbands. Conclusions: The migratory environment as well as the migration of husbands affect contraceptive use and access to FP services among women. Given that a significant proportion of married males leave their home states for work, it is imperative that FP programs in migration affected areas plan and implement migration-centric FP implementation strategies.