XXVII IUSSP International Population Conference
A window of opportunity for fast economic growth is automatically created by sustained fertility decline. However, its realization depends upon the quality (education and skills) of the labor force and economic policies of the day. Fertility decline from about six to 2.6 births between the 1960s and 2008 in India has now raised the prospects of demographic dividend. However, the timing and the pace of fertility decline has not been uniform among the major states. Consequently, the potential for reaping the benefits of demographic dividend also differs among states. This paper traces the common link between policies that contribute to fertility transition as well as create the right kind of environment for reaping the benefit of demographic dividend. The data used for major states in India suggest this link to be the early investment in social development. For example, southern states made earlier investments in social development and experienced fertility transition early. They now have better educated labor force and hence are ready to transform the window of opportunity in to economic growth. However, northern states did not invest adequately in social development early and are now lagging behind in both fertility transition and the quality of the labor force. They are not ready to reap the benefits of demographic dividend.
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