A study undertaken by the Kerala government has confirmed the presence of Child marriage in the state despite all the claims regarding higher literacy and women empowerment. A Kerala government report for 2019 shows that 4.37 per cent of the mothers who delivered babies that year were in the age group of 15-19. Some of these mothers had either had their second or third baby by 19.
In the report published by the state’s Economic and Statistics Department in September, a surprising finding is that of 20,995 mothers between 15 and 19, a major chunk—15,248—was from urban areas. Only 5,747 such mothers were from rural backgrounds.
Of the mothers below 20, 316 had delivered their second baby, 59 had their third baby, and 16 and their fourth baby.
The report showed that 11,725 mothers were from the Muslim community, 3,132 were Hindus and 367 Christians.
Another surprising factor is that most of these mothers were educated—that is, 16,139 had passed Class 10 but were not graduates. Only 57 were illiterate, 38 had primary-level education, and 1,463 had studied between primary levels and Class 10. In the case of 3,298 mothers, education was not specified.
Of 109 maternal deaths reported in 2019, however, only two were below the age of 19.