Marital and Fertility Decision-making: The Lived Experiences of Adolescents and Young Married Couples in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, India

Gender, adolescence & youth
Early marriage and FGM
Marriage and parenthood
Early marriage and FGM
Research Report

This report presents findings from a qualitative sub-study exploring adolescent girls and young couples’ experiences of marital and fertility decision-making in two southern Indian states (Andhra Pradesh and Telangana). Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are among the top states reporting high adolescent fertility: 12 and 11 per cent of young women age 15-19 in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, respectively, were already mothers or pregnant when surveyed in 2015/16. This research was carried out as part of Young Lives, a longitudinal study of childhood poverty that traced the life trajectories of 3,000 children (in two age groups) and their households located in these states, over a 15-year period. By age 18, around 30 per cent of girls in the Young Lives study had married, and 23 per cent of these married girls had also become mothers. 

Research highlights:

  • Adolescent girls continue to have limited choice in who and when they marry.
  • Sex education in schools is failing young people.
  • Adolescent girls and their spouses enter marital life with limited knowledge about modern contraceptive choices.
  • Although contraceptive options are available, they are not reaching the young married couples who want or need them.
  • Contraceptive use is very low among young married couples.
  • Sterilisation of women in their early twenties is common after they have had children.
  • Boys and young men are marginalised from sexual and reproductive health services.
  • Although girls who marry in early adolescence are particularly vulnerable, marrying over the age of 18 does not guarantee improved freedoms and choice in marital and fertility decision-making. 

Suggested citation: Crivello, G., J. Roest, U. Vennam, R. Singh, and F. Winter (2018) ‘Marital and Fertility Decision-making: The Lived Experiences of Adolescents and Young Married Couples in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, India’, Research Report, Oxford: Young Lives.