Members of a boat club practising ahead of Champakulam Moolam boat race on Vembanad Lake in Alappuzha
| Photo Credit: SURESH ALLEPPEY
It is a well-documented fact that Kerala ranks first on many socio-economic indicators compared to other States. For instance, it has a low share of teenage marriages, a low infant mortality ratio, a low share of stunted children, and a high share of people using sanitation facilities compared to other States. In fact, it stands out on many indicators even among the relatively advanced southern States.
However, significant inter-district disparities exist across many indicators. The differences between relatively rich districts such as Ernakulam, Alappuzha, Thrissur and Thiruvananthapuram and relatively poor districts such as Kasaragod, Palakkad, Wayanad and Malappuram were considerably high across many of the parameters considered in this analysis.
Kerala district map
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This is the second story in a series of Data Points exploring inter-district differences in southern States. In the first story, published on June 26, Tamil Nadu’s numbers were analysed. Here, Kerala’s district-wise variations have been analysed across eight indicators. It is important to note that the inter-district variations are not as stark in Kerala as it was in Tamil Nadu.
Chart 1 | The chart shows the share of households that used clean fuel (electricity, LPG/natural gas, biogas) for cooking in 2019-21.
Over 88% of households in Ernakulam used clean fuel compared to Idukki’s 54%. While 80% or more households in Alappuzha and Kollam used clean fuel, only 60% or a lower share of households in Wayanad, Malappuram and Pathanamthitta used such fuel.
Chart 2 | The chart shows the share of women aged 20-24 years who married as teenagers.
In Thrissur, Kottayam and Kollam, less than 1% of women were married as teenagers compared to close to 15% in Palakkad and Malappuram.
Chart 3 | The chart shows the share of children under the age of five years who were stunted (low height for age) in 2019-21.
In Wayanad, Malappuram and Palakkad, close to 30% of children were stunted compared to just 15.5% in Kollam. In Kannur and Thiruvananthapuram, the share was less than 20%.
Chart 4 | The chart shows the number of hospital beds available (excluding Ayush beds) per 1 lakh population in 2021-22.
While in Malappuram and Palakkad, less than 100 beds were available per 1 lakh people, more than 200 beds per 1 lakh people were available in Alappuzha, Thiruvananthapuram and Kottayam.
Chart 5 | The chart shows the per capita gross value added (GVA) at basic price in 2020-21 (in ₹).
In Wayanad and Malappuram, the per capita GVA was less than ₹1 lakh compared to Alappuzha and Ernakulam where it crossed the ₹ 1.7 lakh mark. Kollam, Kottayam and Thrissur were also among the richer districts with a per capita GVA of close to ₹1.4 lakh, while Kasaragod, Pathanamthitta and Palakkad were among the poorer districts.
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Chart 6 | The chart shows the number of public sector workers per lakh population in 2022.
A huge gulf exists between districts such as Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam and Malappuram and Kasaragod.
Chart 7 | The chart shows the number of micro, small and medium enterprises (2020-21) for every one lakh people in the population.
Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram performed better than other districts by a huge margin while Malappuram lagged behind.
Chart 8 | The chart shows the share of landless households deriving a major part of their income from annual casual labour according to Census 2011.
More than 25% of the population in Palakkad, Malappuram and Wayanad came in this bracket while in Ernakulam, Kottayam and Kannur the share was less than 15%.
Source: National Family Health Survey, Statistics reports from the Kerala government website and reports of the Kerala State Planning Board
Also read: Industrial investments: The Kerala story
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