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Kerala population greying fast

india Updated: Aug 04, 2009 11:56 IST
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A steady rise in the 60 plus population in Kerala and a staggered population growth rate of below one per cent could have a bearing on the welfare of elders in the state in the coming years.

If the current trend continues for the next few decades, the proportion of the young to the old will undergo a "historic crossover" around 2021 in Kerala, says a recent study.

This steady demographic transition is bound to have a social and economic fallout, making it essential for the government to factor in the welfare of the aged as a major component of policy measures, it said.

The demographic study by Sabu Aliyar, a Research Fellow at the Centre for Development Studies (CDS) in Thiruvananthapuuram, says that with the number of couples opting for a single child or deciding not to have children at all, the age ratio of the state will alter radically.

"In absolute numbers, children below six years in Kerala are on the decline, compared to rest of the country," he told PTI.

"As Kerala is ahead by 25 years from the rest of the country and in the final stages of demographic transition (low fertility and mortality), the ageing scenario of the state is an issue that merits greater attention," he said.

For instance, on an average, a woman in Kerala gives birth to just 1.6 children and the infant mortality rate, at 14 per 1,000 live births was very low. Though the increasing proportion of elderly is a worldwide and also a national phenomenon, the process is happening much faster in South India, especially in Kerala, it said.