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Urban boom altering TN demographic

Special Correspondent
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Only 51.6 per cent of people live in villages

A rapidly urbanising Tamil Nadu faces significant social and economic challenges, going by indicators in the 2011 census abstract report released here on Friday.

The ratio of rural to urban population has nearly reached parity and stands, in percentage terms, at 51.6 in villages and 48.4 in cities. Tamil Nadu’s population at the referral time – the stroke of midnight of March 1, 2011 – stood at 7.21 crore, including 3.61 crore men and 3.60 crore women. The population distribution in rural areas stood at 3.72 crore, while urban population was 3.49 crore.

“Of the total increase of 9.7 million people in the last decade, the contribution of rural areas was 2.3 million, whereas the contribution of urban areas was 7.4 million,” Joint Director of Census Operations M.R.V.Krishna Rao told reporters.

In what was fairly indicative of the urban population explosion, Chennai had the highest population density at 26,553 persons per sq km. The city’s adjoining districts Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur registered the highest population growth rates in the past decade.

Sex ratio

Despite being one of the States in the country to have an impressive track record in health and family welfare schemes, a comparison of the sex ratio of adults versus children shows a massive gap.

The sex ratio (the number of females per 1,000 males) stood at 996, an increase of 9 points from 987 in the 2001 Census. Sixteen districts had a sex ratio in excess of 1,000.

However the child sex ratio (age group of zero to six years) – a more thorough indicator of the welfare of the girl child – stood at 943 per 1,000, up just marginally from 942 in the 2001 Census.

Literacy rate

The effective literacy rate in Tamil Nadu has been worked out to 80.1 per cent, with male literacy rate of 86.8 per cent and female literacy rate of 73.4 per cent. The top three districts for literacy rates were – Kanyakumari at 91.7 per cent, Chennai at 90.2 per cent and Thoothukudi at 86.2 per cent. The poorest performers were Dharmapuri at 68.5 per cent, Ariyalur at 71.3 per cent and Krishnagiri at 71.5 per cent.

SC/ST population

The Scheduled Castes (SC) accounted for nearly 20 per cent of the State’s population. Of the 14.4 million SCs, 9.5 million lived in rural areas, while 5 million lived in urban areas.

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