Pandemic year observes a decline in births in Kerala
- The pre-pandemic year saw 4.80 lakh births
- If current trends continue, Kerala will see the largest year-on-year drop in birth rates in the last decade in 2021
- Kerala has been recording 100% of births in both rural and urban areas
Kerala saw a sharp drop in live births in the first nine months of 2021, according to data from the state's Chief Registrar of Births and Deaths, as the state battled a raging pandemic — when work from home was the standard practice and lakhs of expats returned to the state.
While Kerala has seen a steady decline in birth numbers, the drop this year has been the most pronounced – the pre-pandemic year saw 4.80 lakh births, which fell to 4.53 lakh in 2020, before plummeting to 2.17 lakh as of September 30 this year.
The number of births recorded in the first six months of this year varied from 27,534 in February to 32,969 in June. However, since then, births have averaged around 10,000 in the months of July, August, and September, with 12,227 registered births in September. According to sources, if current trends continue, Kerala will see the largest year-on-year drop in birth rates in the last decade in 2021, a drop that will have a far-reaching impact on the state's demography in the coming years.
Kerala had 5.46 lakh live births in 2010, which increased to 5.6 lakh in 2011. With the exception of a small increase between 2016 and 2017, the number of births has been declining since then.
Kerala has been recording 100% of births in both rural and urban areas, with institutional deliveries accounting for 98.96% of all births. In Kerala, 87.03% of births were registered within 21 days of birth in 2019.
According to the Department of Non-Resident Keralites Affairs (NORKA), 14.63 lakh expats flew into Kerala in the first 13 months of 2020, mostly from the Middle East.
Kerala has landed in third place in India in terms of total COVID-19 deaths. The state has registered a total of 37,495 deaths as a result of the deadly disease since it began. In comparison to Kerala, only Maharashtra (1,40,739) and Karnataka (38,175) have reported more deaths.