Sinlung /
10 March 2015

Divorce: Mizoram Tops Divorce & Separation in Northeast India

By CK Nayak

2011 census reveals high divorce, separation cases among NE women

New Delhi, Mar 10 : Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland are three states of the North East which have the dubious distinction of having more divorced or separated women in proportion to men, latest census data showed.

Four of the five states with the highest proportion of divorced or separated women in relation to those ever married (ranging from about 7% to 2%) are from the North East – Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Sikkim in that order. Kerala stands in the fifth position.

There are three times as many women as men who are currently single after having been in wedlock, the data showed. This tilt is not just because of the much greater number of women among those widowed.

Over 3.2 million of those separated or divorced are women, compared to1.6 million separated or divorced men. Both among those separated and among the divorcees, there are twice as many women as men.

This is likely to be because it is much easier for men to remarry in a patriarchal society. Interestingly studies have also shown that although Meghalaya is a matrilineal society the rates of abandonment/divorce are very high with women facing the brunt since they and their children are usually not supported by the husband/partner after divorce.

As per the figures Mizoram has the highest number of divorced or separated women with 6. 9 percent compared to 4.8 percent men. Meghalaya with (5.1 % and 2.3 %) Nagaland (2.8 % and 0.9 %), Sikkim (2.3 % and 1.5 %) and Kerala (2.1 % and 1.9 %) stand in that order.

These trends were revealed in recently released census data of 2011, which has given separate data for the population that is divorced and separated for the first time. In earlier censuses, the two categories were combined.

This trend reveals the figures not just at the all-India level, but across most states as well. There are, however, some states where the proportion of separated and divorced men is close to or even slightly more than that of women.

In number terms, the population of those separated, 3.5 million, is more than double the population of divorced persons, just over 1.4 million. Of the 46.6 million women who were once married but were living out of wedlock at the time of the census, the bulk (about 93%) were widowed.

But divorced and separated women make up just about 7% while divorced and separated men make up about 12% of ever-married men who are not married anymore. This is largely because there are fewer men who survive their wives, given the greater longevity of women, a global phenomenon.

The states with the lowest proportion in this category  ranging from 0.2% to 0.5% are Bihar, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand in that order. The gender ratio in Meghalaya ranks average along with many other states but there has been a definite increase in the ratio, since the 2001 census, which means the number of females in the state is increasing.

Earlier, reports had said that Meghalaya has the average age of just 23, the highest in the whole country. The NE states have low averages, it said adding the national average is 27.8 which is also quite good compared to world figures.

Meghalaya is closely followed by Arunachal Pradesh( 24.4) Nagaland (24.9) and Mizoram (26.2) in the region.

Approximately 30 lakh population reside in the naturally gifted land, which makes the state of Meghalaya one of the states in India with lowest population.

But in spite of the low density and population of Meghalaya,the state has a rapid population growth rate, and has the third fastest growing population in India, according to the Meghalaya census 2011. The NFHS survey, 2012 had revealed that Meghalaya has the highest fertility ratio and lowest condom use in the country.


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