Kerala is a small state, tucked away in the south west corner of India. It represents only 1.18 percent of the total area of India but has 3.34% of the total population of the country. It is separated from the rest of the peninsula by natural geographic boundaries.
Kerala may be divided into three geographical regions (1) high land (2) mid land (3) low land. The high lands slope down from the Western Ghats, which rise to an average height of 900m, with a number of peaks over 1,800 m in height. This is the area of major plantations like tea, coffee, rubber, cardamom and other species.
The mid land lies between the mountains and the low lands. It is made up of undulating hills and valleys. This is an area of intensive cultivation - cashew, coconut, areca nut, cassava, banana, rice, ginger, pepper, sugarcane and vegetables of different varieties are grown in this area.
The 'Western Ghats' with their rich primeval forests having a high degree of rainfall, form the eastern boundary and extend from the north to Kanyakumari in the south. The entire western border is caressed by the Arabian sea. Between these natural boundaries lies the narrow strip of land extending from Kasarkode in the north to Parasala in the south.
The south-west and north-east monsoons with their accompanying downpour keep the land soaked, for a period of five to six months in a year. The 'western Ghats', which form the eastern ramparts of the state rise from very low altitudes of a few hundred metres upto about 2,000 metre on an average. The 'Anamudi' peak in the high ranges of Kottayam district rises to a height of 3,000 metres and represents the highest point in India, south of Himalayas. 'Agastyakutam' the southern most peak in the Ghats, is 2,044 metres. 'Ezhimala' is a rugged hill jutting into the sea in startling isolation on the Kannur coast. Ghats are served as an effective rampart. The range has many passes which have allowed a controlled interaction between Kerala, and the lands lying beyond the mountains. The 'Peranbadi Ghat' provides access to Coorg, the 'Periyar Ghat' to the Nilgiri district. The Palghat pass, 32 km broad, has played a bigger role in the alarums and excursions of history. In south, the Bodinaikannur pass connects Devikulam and Munnar in Kerala with the Madurai district of Tamil Nadu. Other passes linking Kerala with Tamil Nadu are Thevaram, the Kambam, the Kumili and the Aramboly
Legends speak of Kerala as Parasuramakshetram, 'the land of Parasurama'. The land of Kerala is believed to be a gift of the Arabian Sea. Owing to its favourable location this land fostered trade and established contacts with Egypt, Assyria, Greeks, Romans and the Chinese. The Malayalam era 'Kollavarsha' is believed to have started in the 9th century A.D. During this period of internal strife in Kerala, Cheraman Perumal founded the Chera dynasty (9th century AD). In about 1498 the Portuguese came to Calicut and in 1502 to Kochi. Kerala was then divided into the Kingdoms of Malabar, Kochi and Travancore. In 1776, Malabar was under the rule of Hyder Ali. In 1792 Tipu Sultan ceded it to the British. While Malabar witnessed the direct rule of the British, Travancore and Kochi were princely states owing allegiance to the British. It was in 1949 that the three territories were integrated and in 1956 the state of Kerala was formed, and joined the Indian Union.
The state of Kerala has an area of 38,863 sq. km. and a population of 31.84 million. There are 14 districts, 152 blocks and 1364 villages. The State has population density of 819 per sq. km. (as against the national average of 312). The decadal growth rate of the state is 9.43% (against 21.54% for the country) and the population of the state is growing at a slower rate than the national rate.
The Total Fertility Rate of the State is 1.8. The Infant Mortality Rate is 13 and Maternal Mortality Ratio is 81 (SRS 2007 - 2009) which are lower than the National average. The Sex Ratio in the State is 1084 (as compared to 940 for the country). Comparative figures of major health and demographic indicators are as follows:
Demographic, Socio-economic and Health profile of Kerala State as compared to India figures :
|Total population (In crore) (Census 2011)
|Decadal Growth (%) (Census 2001)
|Infant Mortality rate (SRS 2011)
|Maternal Mortality Rate (SRS 2007-09)
|Total Fertility Rate (SRS 2011)
|Crude Birth Rate (SRS 2011)
|Crude Death Rate (SRS 2011)
|Natural Growth Rate (SRS 2011)
|Sex Ratio (Census 2011)
|Child Sex Ratio (Census 2011)
|Schedule Caste Population (In crores) (Census 2001)
|Schedule Tribe Population (In Crores) (Census 2001)
|Total Literacy Rate (%) (Census 2011)
|Male Literacy Rate (%) (Census 2011)
|Female Literacy Rate (%) (Census 2011)
Health Infrastructure of Kerala :
|Primary Health Centre
|Community Health Centre
|Health worker (Female)/ANM at Sub Centres & PHCs
|Health Worker (Male) at Sub Centres
|Health Assistant (Female)/LHV at PHCs
|Health Assistant (Male) at PHCs
|Doctor at PHCs
|Obstetricians & Gynecologists at CHCs
|Pediatricians at CHCs
|Total specialists at CHCs
|Radiographers at CHCs
|Pharmacist at PHCs & CHCs
|Laboratory Technicians at PHCs & CHCs
|Nursing Staff at PHCs & CHCs
(Source: RHS Bulletin, March 2012, M/O Health & F.W., GOI)