New Delhi, Dec 28 (IANS) The union territory of Lakshadweep, which has to its credit the youngest MP in the Lok Sabha, now has another feather in its cap - it has the largest number of households headed by women in the country.
The Lakshadweep group of islands, off the western coast of India, has 43.7 percent of households headed by women. Its MP, Hamdullah Sayeed, is the youngest MP in the Lok Sabha at 30 years.
Kerala, where some communities follow a matriarchal system, comes next with 23 percent homes headed by women.
In India, about 27 million households, constituting nearly 11 percent of the total households of the country, are headed by women.
This finding was revealed in a census of "Female Headed Households" that was released Friday here by Minister of State for Home Affairs R.P.N.Singh.
The data was released as part of findings/results of the first phase of Census 2011 on "House Listing and Housing Census".
Inaugurating the National Data Dissemination Workshop organised by the Registrar General and Census Commission India, the minister said that such detailed data would help the Planning Commission and the government to finalise their schemes.
Singh also pointed out that "significant improvement" has been achieved in quality of houses but access to drinking water, electricity and sanitation are areas where more needs to be done.
C. Chandramouli, Registrar General & Census Commissioner of India, gave the main highlights from Census 2011.
Less than half - 48 percent - of the number of female-headed households have a toilet within the premises, while just over half - 59 percent - of such homes have bathing facilities within the premises.
Other findings of the census are:
There are about 49 lakh single-member female households in the country with three-fourths of them living in rural areas.
In seven states, namely Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Gujarat, the proportion of single member female headed household is more than 20 percent.
The proportion of male headed households has declined by 0.6 percent in 2011 compared to 2001 while proportion of female headed households has increased by 0.5 percent in the same period.
More than 60 percent of female headed households have permanent houses while in case of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes categories the percentage of such homes is at 55.8 percent and 33.4 percent respectively.
Members in around 18 percent of female headed households have to trudge more 500 metres in urban areas and one kilometre in rural areas to access drinking water.
Around 45 percent women-headed families live in one-room premises, while around 42.5 percent of such houses use cooking gas/natural gas as a fuel for cooking.
Around 45 percent of these homes have television, in comparison to 47.5 percent in male-headed homes.
Only 3.2 percent of women-headed homes have a four-wheeler - like a car, jeep or a van, in comparison to 4.8 percent of homes with vehicles among male-headed homes.
Around 29 percent of women-headed homes do not possess any asset such as radio/TV/telephone/bicycle/scooter/car. In comparison, 16.5 percent homes among those headed by men have no assets.
The detailed findings on "Female Headed Households" can also be seen at the website of Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India at www.censusindia.gov.in.