Short PaperBy Tashi Dorjee, Thomas Spoorenberg
Due to Bhutan’s geographical location, its historical isolation and the small number of available data sources, little is known about the country’s demographic development. This short paper reviews and examines the evidence documenting the changes in fertility levels and trends in Bhutan over the last 50 years in order to lay empirical foundations for further research on fertility change in the country. Using the available census and sample survey data, direct and indirect methods are applied to estimate fertility. Despite variations between estimation methods, the different series give a rather consistent picture of the fertility change. The reconstruction of the fertility levels and trends in Bhutan shows that the total fertility rate was around 6 children per woman until the mid-1980s and fell rapidly from about 5.5 children per woman in the 1990s to close to replacement level today.