Three cities in Kerala – Malappuram, Kozhikode and Kollam are among the top 10 fastest growing urban regions in the world, according to the latest rankings from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
According to the ranking, Malappuram is the fastest growing urban area in the world while Kozhikode ranks fourth and Kollam is at the 10th position. No other Indian city has reached the top 10 on the list.
The other cities on the list are Can Tho in Vietnam, Suqian, Suzhou and Putian (China), Abuja (Nigeria) Sharjah (UAE) and Muscat (Oman). The study was based on data from the United Nations Population Division.
According to the data, Malappuram saw a population increase of 44.1% between 2015-2020, while Can Tho in Vietnam, ranked second on the list, saw its population increase by 36.7%. Suqian in China, which ranks third, recorded a 36.6% population growth and Kozhikode recorded a 34.5% population increase. Kollam recorded a population growth of 31.1% during the same period.
While many were surprised at three cities in Kerala, which have the lowest population rate in the country, others pointed out that the state has experienced rapid urbanization in recent years.
“If 75% of the inhabitants of an area work in the non-agricultural sector, we consider the area to be urbanized. The state’s urban areas were redefined after the 2011 census and the number of municipalities and towns increased, Mohanachandran Nair, professor and head of the demography department at the University of Kerala, told The Times of India .
The inhabitants of cities like Malappuram and Kozhikode have a significant presence in foreign countries, especially in the Middle East. Another reason for rapid urbanization is NRI’s remittances.
Another reason cited by many others to explain population growth is internal migration. Over the past decade, several towns in Kerala have become a much sought-after destination for migrant workers from across the country.
From the late 2000s, the state experienced a paradigm shift in its workforce. From the construction sector to factories and agricultural labor is now dominated by migrant workers from all over the country.
An acute shortage of local labor, better living conditions and wages, among other reasons, have triggered a wave of migrant workers to the state.
A 2013 study by the state labor department found that one in four adult males between the ages of 20 and 64 in Kerala are likely to be an interstate migrant. It is estimated that 2.5 million people from out of state have taken up residence in Kerala.