Since Kerala battled a vigorous fight against pandemic where work from home seemed a new normal, for which thousands of expatriates returned home.
The state has been witnessing a steep fall in birth numbers, according to the data collected from Kerala’s Chief Registrar of Birth and Deaths. However, the decline in 2021 has been the sharpest. During the pre-pandemic year, about 4.80 lakh births has been recorded in Kerala. Before dropping to 2.17 lakh as on September 30 the number of birth rates declined to 4.53 lakh in 2020.
Kerala in the first six months of 2021, registered live births varying from 27,534 in February to a high of 32,969 in June. However, since then, the births averaged around 10,000, with 12,227 births reported in September.
According to the sources who told The Indian Express that 2021 will witness the biggest on-year decline in Kerala’s birth figures in the last period at this rate. The decline will have a far-reaching impact on the state’s demography in the coming years, the sources added.
In 2020, Kerala reported 5.46 lakh live births and 5.6 lakh in 2011. Since then, the number has dropped steadily, excepting a jump between 2016 and 2017. In rural and urban areas, the state has been recording 100% birth registration. In 2019, Kerala registered 87.03% births within 21 days of birth.
Department of Non-Resident Keralites Affairs data show 14.63 lakh ex-pats returned to Kerala, mainly from the Middle East, during the 13 months from May 2020.
During the pandemic’s early days, many experts had suggested that a worldwide baby boom would be on the anvil as people were forced to stay and work from home with limited options to pass time. However, historians, disagreed with the notion and pointed to the baby bust during the 1918 flu pandemic. They said during uncertain times, people are generally inclined to put off having children until normality returns.