Pregnancy at a very low age is quite prevalent in remote parts of our country. But the following data may come as a surprise to you.
According to a recent report published by Kerala’s economics and statistics department, the state has 22,552 young mothers, who are aged below 19 years. The data is both worrying as well as shocking considering it’s from the state known for the highest literacy rate in the country.
The report stated that live births up to 4.48% were reported in 2017, from mothers between the age group of 15 to 19. These live births included 16,639 and 5,913 infants from the city and village areas respectively.
The report also comprised some shocking facts about child marriage and teenage mothers. As per the report, over 17 thousand mothers were Muslims whereas over 4700 mothers were from the Hindu community. 702 Christian mothers were under-aged whereas some mothers refused to reveal their religion. “Around 137 mothers belonging to the rural areas gave birth to a second child whereas 48 mothers gave birth to a third child before the age of 19. Also, 37 mothers had their fourth baby before 19,” the report stated.
Despite being India’s most literate state, the practice of child marriage and under age pregnancy is rampant in the state.
Cases of child marriage are mostly seen in the Malappuram district. Some of these marriages are prevented by social workers, but most of them are not even reported at the grass-root levels. The report cited that 11 mothers gave birth to a child before the age of 15 which is the most disturbing aspect of this survey.