Kerala logs country’s second highest death rate

MUMBAI: Is there any correlation among health, education and death rates? The conventional thinking takes us to believe that an obvious inverse correlation exists between health and death rate or education and death rate. But surprisingly, Kerala has proved it wrong.

Kerala though tops education and healthcare in the country, this southern-most state is the second highest in death rate with 7.6 deaths per thousand as of 2016, according to an RBI document on statistics on Indian states.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released the third edition of its statistical publication titled “Handbook of Statistics on Indian States 2017-18” recently.

Road accidents and suicides have always been a curse to Kerala. While Kerala has one of the highest rates of suicides among large population states of India, the Kerala roads with high density of traffic always invite accidents.

There was a 20 per cent increase in the number of road accidents in the state during 2016 compared with the previous year. As per the numbers released by the Police Department, the state had witnessed 49,329 accidents in 2016 compared with 39,014 accidents in 2015.

Odisha with a count of 7.8 is the only state in India, which boasts a higher death rate than Kerala currently (as of 2016 statistics). The picture has turned on its head for Kerala since 1990 when only five states (or Union Territories) were there with a lower death rate than Kerala.

In 1990, when Kerala had a relatively low death rate of 6, the national average was a much higher 9.7. But things got worse for Kerala since then. Coming to 1998, when the national average improved to 9, Kerala’s number took a northward journey to settle at 6.4.

The national number v/s Kerala’s may surprise anyone on this vital data on death rate as they moved in opposite direction all along. In 2007, there were 19 states (or UTs) better placed with lesser death rate than Kerala, which then sat on a higher number of 6.8 but still lower than the national average of 7.4.

But as we closed the year 2016, a dismaying picture stared at the state with Kerala’s death rate racing past the national average for the first time to reach 7.6 against the national average of a much lower 6.4 leaving only Odisha above Kerala in death rate.


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