Thiruvananthapuram: Of the 1.63 million Kerala diaspora, 88 percent lives in the Middle East countries, according to a Kerala government survey released Wednesday.
K.C.Joseph, minister for diaspora, said it is the only complete survey on diaspora.
He said: "There are 1,625,653 NRI Keralites, of whom 1,426,853 are working, including 1,325,527 males and 99,326 females."
The maximum number of Keralites, around 573,289, live in the UAE. Also, approximately 450,229 live in the Saudi Arabia. In the US, there are 78,357 Keralites, while in Europe there are 52,887, in Canada 9,629, and in the African continent there are 6,863 Keralites.
Incidentally, it was the central government that ordered an-all India survey on the diaspora and the Kerala government joined in with a separate list of questionnaire, to find out the basic information about Kerala diaspora from every Kerala household.
More than 9,000 enumerators, supervised by 2,500 officials, called at each household in the state.
"Our brief to the officials was no question on finances should be asked. We felt that if we included such questions, then many would not have given correct information. Our only purpose was to find out the actual numbers of our people abroad," said Joseph.
The survey showed that five million people in the state are dependent on the diaspora. The Muslim-dominated Malappuram district has most number of dependents, around 292,753 people, while the hilly Idukki with 14,575 people is the district which has the least.
The tribal panchayat at Idukki-Edamalakuddi is the only place in the state which does not have a single person outside India.
Approximately 58,559 of the women from Kerala work as nurses and Kottayam district accounts for the maximum number of women who work abroad, while Kasargode has just 1,240 women who work abroad, the survey states.