Ratio of girls below six years down to 947 per 1,000 boys

While Dakshina Kannada tops most positive indices in the State, the latest Census figures show an alarming drop in the child-sex ratio here.

The 2011 Census shows the sex ratio has dropped to 947 girls (below 6 years) per 1,000 boys. This is in keeping with the lowering child sex ratio over the past two decades, 952 in 2001 and 962 in 1991. When the Mangalore City Corporation (MCC) limits are considered in isolation, the child-sex ratio is far worse, at just 930 girls for 1000 boys, down from a ratio of 960 enumerated a decade ago.

Calling this a “matter of concern” and a “socially dangerous trend”, S. Rukmini, District Reproductive and Child Health Officer, said that with a lack of studies, there was no way to pinpoint the exact reason for the worsening ratio.

“One factor could be the one-child norm being observed in the district. When a couple has a son, they stop having children; whereas, when a daughter is born, they go for another child hoping it’s a son. This way, there are almost always more sons than daughters,” she said, and added that female infanticide – which hasn’t been detected in the district in the recent past – may only be a minor factor.

While children under 6 years formed 12.05 per cent of the population a decade ago, it dropped 2.05 percentage points to 9.97 per cent as revealed by the 2011 Census.

Furthermore, keeping in mind the low Total Fertility Rate of the district (at 1.3 per cent, compared to the recommended stabilisation level of 1.8 per cent), this skewed ratio will have a dangerous effect within the next two decades.

“Already, smaller communities are beginning to feel this during the search for an intra-community matrimonial match,” said Dr. Rukmini.

However, the Census figures bring more cheer than glum to the district. At 1014 women per 1000 men, the city tops the charts in sex ratio (in comparison, the State capital has 100 fewer women per 1000 men than Mangalore).

Literacy rates have continued the upward trend. The district has seen a jump of five percentage points to 88.57 per cent, while Mangalore city again emerges far above the rest with 94 per cent literacy. (For the record, the second highest among corporations is Belgaum city with around 90 per cent literacy.)

In population figures, the MCC remains the sixth largest corporation in the State (the gulf between Belgaum and the city remains narrow at just 4,000 persons). But Mangalore’s growth rate has considerably reduced.

The city’s population grew by around 21 per cent in the decade (which places it fifth among the cities of the State), but is far lower than the 45 per cent clocked between 1991 and 2001. However, the 45 per cent growth has been largely attributed to the inclusion of Surathkal and surrounding areas into MCC in 1996-97.

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