On April 17, 2012, the preliminary results of the 2011 Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS) were announced and celebrated. The 2011 BDHS is the sixth national survey designed to provide representative information on demographic and maternal and child health. Data are collected through household and community surveys. The DHS series is conducted regularly in over 80 countries worldwide. To learn more about the survey design, sampling strategy, and implementation of the 2011 BDHS, read the Preliminary Report.
The preliminary results indicate that Bangladesh is indeed on the move to better health with notable progress in family planning, maternal and child health, and nutrition, but there are also still significant gaps and areas for improvement.
Fertility continued to decline to 2.3 children per woman in 2011, down from 2.7 in 2007. Two generations ago, the average woman had six or seven children, but the modern woman now has on average only two. Social norms are changing, and 82% of women with two children do not want to have any more. In one of the most densely populated countries in the world, declining fertility is great news. Families with fewer children are healthier, can more effectively prioritize their resources, and have less impact on the environment.