Kerala Heralds population fall | Deccan Chronicle
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Kerala Heralds population fall

DC | 12th May 2013

Current Census figures indicate Kerala will record a negative population growth in 2021, a first in India.

The trend will be followed up by Tamil Nadu in 2031, Maharashtra in 2041 and Uttar Pradesh in 2051are markable social achievement coming up for Kerala will be the definite fall in Malayalee population in the 2021 Census. According to the final Census 2011, released on Friday, the trend has already been reflected in 12 taluks in the central Travancore area, where the population showed a negative growth rate, a first in modern India.

In fact, five of the taluks — Adoor, Mallapally, Kozhencherry, Ranni and Thiruvalla — are in Pathanamthitta district alone, the only district in Kerala where Christians are in a majority.

Adjacent taluks of Chengannur, Kuttanadu and Karthikapally in Alappuzha, Pathanapuram in Kollam and Udumbanchola, Devikulam and Peerumedu in Idukki are the other ones that showed a fall in total population. And all these taluks are the traditional homes of Syrian Christians.

According to senior demographer K.C. Zachariah of the Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram, these 12 taluks are heralding a social trend which is spreading across Kerala. “In he 2021 census, we can expect a fall in Kerala population with both Christians and Hindus going down in numbers, offsetting a growth in the numbers of Muslims who are mostly in the northern parts of the state. And Kerala will be the first state in the country to have this social distinction.” In fact, there has been a five per cent fall in population growth rate in the state in every succeeding census since 1971. Kerala had

25% growth rate in 1971 which came down to 20 per cent in 1981, 9.4% in 2001 and it stands at 4.9 in 2011. As per this trend, the growth rate in 2021 will be either static or minus, indicating that Malayalees would not add to their current population of 3,34,06,061 and in fact may go down from this figure.

According to Zachariah, the Christian population in the state must have gone down to 16% in 2011 from 19.5% in 2001. After a tentative analysis on the basis of his surveys, Zachariah suggested that the Muslim community must have reached 25% of the population as against 21% in 2001. The Hindu community should be around 54% against 56% in 2001.

I am waiting for the community wise figures which are yet to be released. But it is pretty sure that in another 20 to 30 years, the Christian population will come down to 13% and the Muslim population will go up to 33%”, Zachariah said.

As per Zachariah’s estimates, the birth rate among Christians in the state is around 1.2 only as

against 1.4 among Hindus and 2.1 among Muslims. In fact, the birth rate among all the communities in the state was declining but it was the fastest among Christians.

To maintain the current population, the birth rate should be at least two, said.

Zachariah noted that some Christian communities like Mar Thoma and Orthodox were declining faster than Catholics. Zachariah noted that the Christian community had the highest rate of sterilisation both in 1980 and 1991, resulting in the negative population rate now.

While the proportion of Christian couples who had undergone sterilisation in 1991 was nearly 50 per cent, the corresponding figure for Muslim couples was 34 per cent and for Nair couples, 40 per cent.

He foresees Kerala’s destiny moving towards North (the Malabar area) where the Muslims are increasingly located. The last demarcation of Assembly constituencies saw that while four constituencies were added in the Malabar area, Central Travancore lost a corresponding number.

Zachariah said that though the influence of Christians would decline in electoral politics due to their falling numbers, they would continue to wield power as they have the largest number of educational institutions and hospitals in the state.

According to him, the decline in population would also make the state more prosperous though it could affect the migration of Malayalees. “Less numbers mean there will be less hands to work or migrate, but it will not affect the income of Malayalees as trends show that migrants are

increasingly investing in business in the state.” In fact, by 2050, unemployment would be unheard of in the state, but most of the schools would have to shut down for want of students.

One fallout of this social trend would be the proportional increase of the elderly in the total population. The state would need more care homes for the elderly and it would also need to spend substantially more for healthcare as well.

In political terms, the elderly could influence the policies of the government in their favour.

Interestingly, as Malayalees are shrinking in numbers, more and more of them are migrating to cities, or some of the villages are fast becoming towns. In fact, the state has a high urbanisation rate of over 80 per cent. It has now 520 towns as against 159 at the start of the century.


Average: 3.8 (14 votes)

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Mythili's picture
by Mythili (not verified) on
Editorialising much? The article should have praised the falling numbers in Kerala, particularly the Christian community as a sign of their social progress, instead it seems to point to the Muslim growth rate as a cause of concern.
Aby's picture
by Aby (not verified) on
Th negative impact of Full-Literacy...!!!!! The same thing happen in Western countries...
jamesvaikom's picture
by jamesvaikom (not verified) on
Can anyone, who claim that high population growth ( TFR) is good, explain why standard of living in districts, states and countries with high fertility rate is lower than other places in the world? Our main export is workforce and our main import is oil. High population growth means low demand for work force we export and high demand for oil we import. When population growth was high, peasants were getting less wages and farmers were not allowed to use machines like reaping machine, tractors etc. Now due to low population growth peasants are getting good wages and farmers are allowed to use machines. When population growth was low there were huge protests against computerization. Now due to low population growth computerization is encouraged. Its wrong to claim that high population growth will help reduce old age problems. Kerala is full of Grandparents and Grandchildren. Many youngsters are working abroad. Old age problems will reduce only by creating more jobs for youth here and not by having more children.
Dr.Jomon Cherian's picture
by Dr.Jomon Cherian (not verified) on
the problem with other places with more TFR is due to improper distribution of food, money and resources . the Jamindaar system prevails there bribe the govt. officials to deny justice to poor people. the Job Security Project , Food Security project if implemented properly, there wont be any serious problem in India.the intelligent people like you will be extinct, like Brahmins who decided to reduce there children to avoid division of their property lost them and who has more children has more wealth in Kerala, India and all over the world.when there are more children they will become street smart, fit to live in Kerala or India. but our Broiler Children whom make them fit for foreign countries, never expect them to stay here and take care of you !!! God has set apart a person to look after you who may not be smart, but will be having the attitude to take care of you as his mission, but in many houses they are never born !!
jamesvaikom's picture
by jamesvaikom (not verified) on
Why the problems you mentioned are high in places with high TFR than other places? The reason is poor people with more children spend almost all their earnings to provide food for their family. As they spend less money for education, they earn less money. To feed their large family they may do illegal activities. NGOs are using these opportunities to do anti national activities. Your claim that people who have more children are richer than others is completely wrong. Standard of living in Malabar region is low compared to other parts of Kerala because TFR of Malabar region is very high compared to other parts of Kerala. Standard of living in Kerala is higher than other states because TFR of Kerala is lower than other states. Standard of living in Africa is lower than other parts of world because TFR is higher in Africa. Standard of living of some Middle East countries are higher than us because demand for their oil is increasing due to high population growth in countries like India and has nothing to do with their TFR. Even some Middle East countries are facing social unrest because their oil production is not increasing with the rate of increase in population. Other Middle East countries like Saudi Arabia will also start facing heat when oil production in other parts of World increase due to shale oil boom. If you still believe that people who have more children are richer than others then can you name few districts, states or countries where standard of living is increasing due to high TFR? But please don't give names of few rich people because 1 amoung 1000 people who have many children may be fortunate. But the fact is almost all hard working poor people who have many children are living miserable life. High population growth will only create beggars and slaves. Many Indians are forced to work abroad because they are not able to find jobs according to their qualifications here. Even our ministers are begging in front of their Saudi counterparts so that Indians working there won't loss their jobs. Govt. is using tax payers money to create unproductive jobs through MGNREGS and other welfare schemes. Its difficult to create more productive jobs due to environmental problems. Middle class people are facing inflation, high tax burden etc. Rich people won't face problems because high population growth is helping them make more profit by selling low quality products at high rates. If environmentalists protest against their factories then still rich people make profit by constructing factories in China and exporting products to India. There is not enough productive jobs in our World. About 25% young citizens of Europe are jobless because immigrants from countries like India are ready to do jobs at lower rates. Most citizens of Middle East countries are jobless because they are earning more money as dividend from public sector oil companies than Indians working in those countries. Many Indians will loss their jobs if governments in those countries start reserving more jobs for their citizens. We have huge reserves of coal, shale gas etc. in densely populated states like West Bengal. We can't extract those natural resources if we don't control population growth. Our main export is work force and main import is oil. Due to high population growth demand for our workforce is decreasing and demand for oil we import is increasing. When population growth was high in Kerala then peasants were earning less wages and farmers were not allowed to use machines like tractors, reaping machines, sowing machines etc. Now due to low population growth peasants are getting more wages and farmers are allowed to use machines. When population growth of Kerala was high there were protest against computerization due to fear that unskilled people will loss their jobs. Now due to low population growth computerization is encouraged and many IT professionals who worked abroad or in other states are now working in IT parks in our state. This help our Govt. to earn more tax revenue as most IT professionals pay income tax and they preffer to buy products from malls instead of footpath. You claim that zamindars are exploiting poor people. Then what about exploitations done by religious groups? In Kerala nurses and unaided school teachers are earning less money than others because these private hospitals and unaided schools are owned by religious groups. Here the problem is demand supply gap. Now low population growth is helping blue-collar workers to earn more money. In future lower population growth will help white-collar workers earn more money. Some people claim that high population growth will help reduce old age problems. But that's not possible. Kerala is full of Grandparents and Grandchildren. Many youngsters are working abroad. We can reduce old age problems only by creating more jobs for youth here and not by having more children. Also old age problem is better than dying young. African countries are not facing old age problems because their life expectancy is lower than 40. In India many children in states with high TFR die due to malnutrition. Only people who spend money for health care will face old age problems. Some NGOs and religious groups are first creating poverty by encouraging people to have more children and then distribute peanut money, food etc. This will force poor people to depend on NGOs and religious groups for their daily needs. The permanent solution is to encourage family planning. If poor people have less children then they won't have to depend on NGOs and religious groups for their daily needs. You claim that people like me will become extinct. Then what about priests and bishops who don't have children? Here people who don't have children are warning people with one or two children that they will face problems if they don't breed more offsprings.
shibu USA's picture
by shibu USA (not verified) on
you said 100% true, but all communities should follow that but here it is unfair....
esok2904's picture
by esok2904 (not verified) on
The more educated people become, the fewer children they have. A great sign of progress, the population of the entire country needs to come down.
mathew24's picture
by mathew24 (not verified) on
yes right..but all communities should follow that but here it is unfair
jamesvaikom's picture
by jamesvaikom (not verified) on
You are right. Catholics are contributing to the society by adapting family planning. But church authorities on one side is protesting against family planning and on other side is protesting against Govt. decision to spend more money for Muslims according to their population growth. Muslims deserve more schools because their population is increasing. Here problem is Govt. spendings for Malabar region is increasing due to their population growth. But tax collection from Malabar region is not increasing with the proportion of population growth. If laities don't want Govt. to divert tax collected from them to help other communities then they should force Govt. to implement 2 child policy. Let people decide how many children they need. But Govt. should provide freebees and subsidies to people with more than 2 children only if they agree to do sterilization.
Mathew24's picture
by Mathew24 (not verified) on
Central Travancore can be compared to a western country
mohammed younus ansari's picture
by mohammed younus... (not verified) on
we all indians must accept family planning irrespective of caste or religion.Indian muslims also adopting birth control policies,their TFR is decling slowly,espicially in south India. Central and state governements should provide proper facilities in muslim areas to encourage family planning. Muslims should be provided basic healthcare and school facilities to improve their human development level which helps in reducing TFR.
dheeraj ad's picture
by dheeraj ad (not verified) on
Article is full of factual errors 1.Percentage of Muslims in 2001 census was 24.7% not 21% as stated in the article. 2.Pathanamthitta is a Hindu majority district with 54% Hindus and 40% Christians in 2001 census. Now some observations 1.In kerala the Hindu and Christian growth rate is already negative. The 5% growth rate is entirely due to growth in Muslim population. This is on the basis of the district wise population growth in the 2011 census. 2. The Christian population decline in the article is inflated. The Hindu and Christian population have similar negative growth rate. 3.Kerala will probably become a Muslim majority state by 2051 census.(There is huge population of Gulf Muslims not counted in theses census)


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