National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) 2015-16: Kerala


The 2015-16 National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) provides information on population, health and nutrition for each state and union territory in India. The survey was conducted by the International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai, for the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The fieldwork for Kerala was conducted in all 14 districts of the state. Information was collected from 11,555 households, 11,033 women in the 15-49 age group, and 2,086 men between the ages of 15 and 54. 

This state report for Kerala presents findings on several key socio-economic indicators like water and sanitation, marriage, fertility, contraception, children’s immunisation, sexual behaviour and domestic violence. It makes important observations too, like the near-universality of births in a health facility, the low rate of infant mortality, and the preference for sons.


  1. The survey showed that the majority of heads of households in Kerala were Hindu (59 per cent), followed by those who were Muslim (23 per cent) and Christian (18 per cent). 

  2. The overall sex ratio was 1,049 females per 1,000 males, but the sex ratio of the under-seven population was slightly lower: 1,020 females per 1,000 males.

  3. School attendance in Kerala was universal in the 6-14 age group, but dropped to 94 per cent in the 15-17 age group.

  4. The infant mortality rate was estimated to be 6 deaths before the age of one, per 1,000 live births – the lowest in any state in India.

  5. More than one-third of children aged between 6 and 59 months (36 per cent) were anaemic.

  6. Twenty-one percent of all women in the age group 15 to 49 were employed in the 12 months preceding the survey. In the same period, 75 per cent of all men between 15 and 49 were employed. Eighty-nine percent of employed women worked in non-agricultural occupations, compared with 92 per cent of employed men.

  7. Among married women who worked and were paid in cash, 91 per cent decided how their earnings would be used, either by themselves or with their husbands.

  8. Thirteen per cent of women in the 15-49 age group had experienced physical violence. The most common perpetrator of this kind of violence among 90 per cent of married women was the husband.

    Focus and Factoids by Pratik Dixit.

    PARI Library's health archive project is part of an initiative supported by the Azim Premji University to develop a free-access repository of health-related reports relevant to rural India.


International Institute of Population Sciences (IIPS), Mumbai

Contributors: Manoj Alagarajan, S.K. Singh, H. Lhungdim and Fred Arnold 


Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India


01 Sep, 2017