THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As many as 20,995 women who gave birth in the state in 2019 were teenagers, says a report by the Economics and Statistics Department. The data indicates that the state is yet to get rid of the evil practice of child marriage despite its high ranking in social development indicators.
Of these young mothers aged between 15 and 19,316 delivered their second baby, 59 their third and 16 their fourth, says the Vital Statistics Report 2019. The data would further surprise one since a majority of the women, 15,248, were from urban areas while only 5,747 hailed from rural areas. Also, except 57, all others had elementary education.
As many as 38 of them had primary-level education, and 1,463 had education between the primary level and 10th standard. As many as 57 persons were illiterate and the education status of 3,298 mothers was unavailable. Public health expert Dr K V Ramankutty said the data warrants a more comprehensive study to have a proper assessment.
“Obviously, this is bad for the state. Early pregnancy will affect the health of mother and baby. Also, the mother’s chances for higher education or employment would be low in such cases. A study is required for formulating a policy to address this,” he said.
More male than female babies in 2019
The number of live births registered in 2019 is 4.80 lakh as against 4.88 lakh during 2018. The majority -- 53.71% -- of the children were born to young couples who had been married for up to four years and 30.76% of child births were within five to nine years after marriage.
Of the total 4,80,113 newborns, 2,44,953 were male and 2,35,129 female. The gender of 31 babies was not recorded. That means, the state had more male than female babies in 2019.
As many as 1,40,314 births (29.23%) were reported from rural areas and 3,39,799 (70.77%) from urban areas. Of the total births registered during 2019, 98.95% of deliveries were in hospitals and 0.26% of the cases were attended to by physician/nurse/midwife.
Child marriage prevalent?
Of the young mothers aged between 15 and 19, 316 delivered their second baby, 59 their third and 16 their fourth, says the report. The data hints at the prevalence of child marriages.