Ahmedabad: The gender ratio of children in Gujarat has improved slightly in the past decade, still lagging way behind its 1991 statistic and a contracted national average.
The state has 886 girls for every 1,000 boys below age six, against 883 girls in 2001, the latest census data showed.
In 1991, Gujarat had 928 girls for every 1,000 boys. The national average is 914 girls, down from 927 girls in 2001.
To improve the child sex ratio, the Gujarat government has in the past five years launched campaigns such as the Beti Bachao Andolan (Save the Girl Child Scheme) and the Kanya Kelavani, a state programme to educate girls.
“Sex ratio of children aged between zero-six years has improved slightly in Gujarat in the last one decade, which is a good sign as it had fallen drastically in 2001,” said Manish Bhardwaj, director of census operations in Gujarat. “It is true that the state’s ratio is still lower than the national average...but the results of the state’s ongoing campaigns will start showing now on.”
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Gujarat’s population increased about 19% to 60.38 million in 2011 from 50.67 million a decade earlier. The number of men in the state has increased to 31.48 million from 26.38 million, and that of women to 28.9 million from 24.28 million.
“Gujarat’s population growth has slowed in the last one decade,” Bhardwaj said. “Gujarat’s population had grown at 22.66% during 1991-2001.”
Ahmedabad is the most populated district in the state, with 7.20 million people, up 11.94% from 2001, followed by Surat with 6.07 million people, up 10.07%, showed data released on Thursday by Gujarat’s directorate of census operations.
Graphic: Yogesh Kumar/Mint
Surat is the most densely populated district in the state with 1,376 people living per square kilometre, followed by Ahmedabad with 890 people and Anand district with 711 people. The national average is 382.
The data revealed more people in the state are migrating from villages to cities, likely in search of jobs.
“As much as 42.6% of the state’s population is urban, which used to be at 37.4% in 2001. Rural population in the state in 2011 fell to 57.4% from 62.6% in 2001,” Bhardwaj said.
“The census figures indicate a lopsided social development trend in Gujarat, whether it is the child sex ratio or female literacy ratio,” said Vidyut Joshi, emeritus professor for sociology at Gujarat Vidyapith university in Ahmedabad. “Tribal and rural areas have performed well in both these categories in comparison to developed districts.”