Factors associated with low birth weight among tribal and non-tribal population in India: Evidence from National Family Health Survey-4 (2015–2016)


  • Sima Dey Guest Faculty, Sports Authority of India, Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports, Patiala, India image/svg+xml
  • Nitish Mondal Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, School of Human Sciences Sikkim University, Gangtok 737102, Sikkim, India image/svg+xml
  • Kaushik Bose Professor, Department of Anthropology, Vidyasagar University, Vidyasagar University Rd, Rangamati, Midnapore, West Bengal 721102 image/svg+xml




Birthweight, Low Birth Weight, Tribal population, Socio-Demographic variables


The tribal population (8.6%) is vulnerable to neonatal mortality and morbidity in India. Birth weight is an important decisive factor for most neonatal survival and postnatal development. The present study aims to compare the prevalence and associations of certain socio-economic, demographic, and lifestyle variables with low birth weight (LBW) among tribal and non-tribal populations in India. The present investigation utilized retrospective data of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4, 2015–16) among tribal (N=26635) and non-tribal (N=142162) populations in India. Birth weight variation of the newborn was categorized into LBW (<2500 gm) and NBW (≥2500 gm). ANOVA, chi-square (χ2) analysis, and binary logistic regression (BLR) were applied using SPSS (version 16.0). The prevalence of LBW was higher in non-tribal (17.2%) than tribal (13.5%), and the population-specific birth weight was significantly higher in tribal than non-tribal population (p<0.01). Higher tribal population concentration (47.0%) areas has a lower (7.4%) prevalence of LBW in the northeast zone, whereas greater non-tribal population concentration (27.1%) areas was found higher in the central zone (19.2%). The BLR analysis showed that rural habitat, lower educational attainment, lack of own sanitary toilet facility, a lower wealth index, absence of electricity, high pollutant fuel exposure, Hindu and Muslim religion, elevated maternal age at first birth, maternal anemia as well as home delivery of newborn have greater odds for LBW (p<0.05). In India, tribal populations are vulnerable and marginalised; their birth weight is significantly higher than that of non-tribals, and they have a lower prevalence of LBW and higher female birth rates. Mother’s socio-economic status and perceptions towards hygiene and better lifestyles acquired by educational upliftment positively affect the birth weight of the newborn in both the tribal and non-tribal population in India.


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How to Cite

Dey, S., Mondal, N., & Bose, K. (2022). Factors associated with low birth weight among tribal and non-tribal population in India: Evidence from National Family Health Survey-4 (2015–2016). Anthropological Review, 85(3), 107–124. https://doi.org/10.18778/1898-6773.85.3.08




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