Two hundred traditional birth attendants (TBAs) of a community development block of India were interviewed. The majority were age 45 years or above (81%), illiterate (85%), and of low caste (78%). Most (88%) had three or more children. Although 27% had inherited the profession from older female relatives, only 4% have daughters or daughters-in-law in the profession. Almost half (48%) had conducted 11 or more deliveries in last year. The TBAs charged more money to deliver a male infant than to deliver a female. The TBA workforce in India appears to be shrinking, possibly because of gradual reduction in family size. Backup support from state maternal health care services is lacking. Existing cadre of TBAs should be involved in primary health care to ensure the survival of the institution of dais (TBAs) and to ensure the availability of basic maternity services to rural women.