Where important health indicators are concerned, the Indian State of Kerala leads the rest of the nation. The latest Economic Review of 2005 says that Kerala is ahead where life expectancy, infant mortality and birth rate are concerned. The birth rate in the state is 16.70 for every 1,000 people, while it is at 24.80 for the entire nation. Likewise, the death rate is 6.30 as against 8.00 for the whole of the country and infant mortality is at 11, far lower than the country average of 60.
Similarly, life expectancy for Kerala men is 71.67 years and for women 75 years, higher than for the whole of India’s 64.10 for men and 65.80 for women. Kerala also has reason to cheer with suicides declining by 4.08% over the 2003 figure of 9,438. But while the health scenario is favorable on the social front, the state is confronted with other problems it needs to solve.
Nine percent of the state’s 32 million population is above 60. The number of women-headed households in Kerala has been increasing rapidly compared to other states. Against 10.30% of the households of India are headed by women, the figure for Kerala is more than double at 22.10%. The review cites divorce, death and migration as the reasons for the higher figure in the state.