Home > India, Indian Economy, Social Trends > Why does South have so many divorcees?

Why does South have so many divorcees?


Divorce, litigation, single status! Are these signs of education, development?

Divorce, more people with single-status, litigation, seem to go hand-in-hand. Is this development, progress?  |  Image by Ahmed Raza Khan; source & courtesy - livemint.com  |  Click for image.

Divorce, more people with single-status, litigation, seem to go hand-in-hand. Is this development, progress? | Image by Ahmed Raza Khan; source & courtesy - livemint.com | Click for image.

Tamil Nadu was home to the highest percentage of widowed/divorced or separated (WDS) individuals in India in 2010 (8.8%) while Delhi had the lowest (4.1%).

Maharashtra figured in both the top five lists of highest percentage of WDS overall and females. The percentage of WDS females was almost three times that of men (2.9% against 10%).

Altogether, 7% of the population aged 10 and above were either widowed, divorced or separated in 2010 in India, according to the Registrar General of India’s Sample Registration System 2010 data finalized and submitted to the Union health ministry on Saturday.

Some big states like Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka recorded WDS population as high as 8.2%, followed by Odisha (7.2), Himachal Pradesh (7.1%) and Maharashtra (7%).

UP’s WDS men count stood at 3.7%, followed by Punjab (3.4), Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh (3.3). As far as women WDS were concerned, TN again topped the list with 14.5% of its population above the age of 10 belonging to this category, followed by Karnataka (14.2), Kerala (14), Andhra Pradesh (13.6) and Maharashtra (11.7).

In West Bengal, the number of WDS women was almost six times higher than their male counterparts, according to the data. (via Tamil Nadu has highest percentage of widowed/divorcees in India – Times Of India).

'Progress', 'modern' 'development' seem to be having such narrow meanings. | cartoonist: Michael Leunig. Click for image.

'Progress', 'modern' 'development' seem to be having such narrow meanings. | cartoonist: Michael Leunig. Click for image.

Reality vs Perception

In the Rest of India, Southern states are perceived to be more traditional, conservative – and educated.

In fact Odisha and Maharashtra, the two states that neighbour South India, also have a higher WDS percentage. Himachal Pradesh is more developed and has more WDS people. Gujarat, Delhi and Odisha are the exceptions. Odisha is not ‘developed’ but has a high WDS percentage. Gujarat, Delhi are more ‘developed’ – but not in the high WDS list.

Is this high rate of WDS, because South is more ‘educated’ and ‘developed’?

More modern?


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  1. Sandeep
    April 10, 2012 at 6:17 am | #1

    Read Is “Boy preference” a brain product of CFR?

    Posted by: Prassoon Suryadas on: June 14, 2011

  2. April 20, 2012 at 6:05 am | #2
  3. rajivkutty
    April 17, 2013 at 5:55 pm | #3

    It seems you would prefer a woman married to a bully of a husband continue to get beatings and abuses from the man rather than get a divorce. Or vice versa if a man married to bully of a woman who destroys the finances of the household, not to get a divorce.

    of course in the process as usual you continue to say muslims can do no wrong. South indians inferior, north indians superior.

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