As of 2001,
Kochi had a population of 596,473, with a density of 6850.7
persons per square kilometre. Scheduled castes and tribes
comprise 14.3% of the city's population. The female-to-male
ratio is 1,024:1,000, significantly higher than the all-India
average of 933:1,000. Kochi's literacy rate is 94.3%. The
female literacy rate lags that of males by 1.1%, amongst the
lowest such gaps in India.
Kochi's major religions are Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam;
Jainism, Judaism, Sikhism, and Buddhism have smaller
followings. Though 47% practise Hinduism, Christianity's large
following (35%) makes Kochi a city with one of the largest
Christian populations in India.
Slums next to high-rise commercial buildings in Kaloor, Kochi.
Hundreds of people, mostly comprising migrant labourers who
come to the city seeking job prospects, reside in such shabby
areas.The majority of residents are Malayalis; however, there
are significant ethnic minority communities including Tamils,
Gujaratis, Jews, Sikkimese, Anglo-Indians, Konkanis, and
Tuluvas. Malayalam is the main language of communication and
medium of instruction, although English is more commonly used
in business circles. Tamil and Hindi are widely
understood—albeit rarely spoken.
Like other fast-growing cities in the developing world, Kochi
suffers from major urbanisation problems, poor sanitation, and
unemployment. However, a survey conducted in 2007 by a private
agency considered Kochi to be the best city to live in India.
The city registered an increase of 9.7% in its unemployment
rate from 14.8% in 1998 to 24.5% in 2003. Shortage of potable
water is a major concern in the city. The situation is
aggravated by the threat posed by pollution in industrial
areas. The city also has a growing slum-dwelling population.
The government has plans to make the city slum-free by
2016. Kochi has a high suicide rate with 32 suicides per
lakh, which is three times higher than the national average of
11.2 per lakh. According to the National Crime Records Bureau,
Kochi has one of highest rates of crime in India—498.6,
against the national average of 287.3. However, a survey
conducted by The Week, found Kochi to be the safest city in
India for women.
Kochi has the highest density of telephones in India.
Telephony services are provided by various players like Airtel,
Idea cellular, Vodafone, Reliance Infocomm, Tata Indicom and
the state owned BSNL.