Census India 1931: The Population Problem in Travancore

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This article is an extract from


Report by

J. H. HUTTON, C.I.E., D.Sc., F.A.S.B.,

Corresponding Member of the Anthropologische Gesselschaft of Vienna.

Delhi: Manager of Publications


(Hutton was the Census Commissioner for India)

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The Population Problem in Travancore

Travancore is a much larger state than Cochin but otherwise closely resembles it in population and M. physical features, though it has a drier strip of coast towards the south running down to Cape Comorin. Its area is 7,625 sq. miles and its population is 5,095,973 with a mean density of 668.

Though third in order of population, at least sixteen States in India are larger in size. It falls into three clearly marked natural divisions, the coast, the low hills and the high forest-clad hills The rainfall varies from 35 inches in the extreme south to nearly 300 in the high hills, but over by far the greater area of the State it varies, as in Cochin, from 100 to 180. The hills have been largely developed and planted with tea and cardamom plantations, but are still thinly inhabited compared to the plains. Except Cochin, Travancore is far more densely populated than any State in India, and is more densely populated than Bengal.

In the low hills tapioca is cultivated as a staple food. The net area under cultivation increased by 9. 5 per cent. only as compared to an increase of 27 .2 per cent. in population between 1921 and 1931, but the food production of the State is inadequate to its needs and Burma rice is purchased with the proceeds of the sale of coconut products, pepper and cardamoms. Wages nearly doubled during the decade and Savings Bank deposits More than doubled. This prosperous position was however being very severely, affected by the economic depression in 1931.

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