The district was formed on 16 June 1969. Malappuram district is composed of portions of the former Palakkad and Kozhikode districts: Ernad taluk and portions of Tirur taluk in Kozhikode district, and portions of Perinthalmannna and Ponnani taluks in Palakkad district. In 1921 the present-day Malappuram district was part of the Moplah rebellions, followed by decades of stagnant economic, social and political development. In the early years of Communist rule in Kerala, Malappuram experienced land reform under the Land Reform Ordinance. During the 1970s Persian Gulf oil reserves were opened to commercial extraction, and thousands of unskilled workers migrated to the Gulf. They sent money home, supporting the rural economy, and by the late 20th century the region had First World health standards and near-universal literacy.
Malappuram district contains abundant wildlife and a number of small hills, forests, rivers and streams flowing to the west, backwaters and paddy, arecanut, cashew nut, pepper, ginger, pulses, coconut, banana, tapioca, and rubber plantations. Malappuram is one of two Muslim-majority districts in south India. The Hindu temples and Moplah mosques of the region are known for their colorful festivals, and it is the most populous district in Kerala. Religions practised in the district include Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism and tribal religions.
Malappuram is the 50th-most-populous of India's 640 districts, with a population density of 1,158 inhabitants per square kilometre (3,000/sq mi). Its population-growth rate from 2001 to 2011 was 13.39 percent. Malappuram has a sex ratio of 1096 women to 1000 men, and its literacy rate is 93.55 percent.Malayalam is the district's principal language. Minority Dravidian languages are Allar (350 speakers) and Aranadan, kept alive by the low education level of its 200 speakers.
- "Summer Journey 2011". Time. 21 July 2011. Archived from the original on 24 August 2013. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
- "District Census 2011". Census2011.co.in. 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-30.
- pp. 396, Malayala Manorama Yearbook 2006, Kottayam, 2006 ISSN 0970-9096
- M. Paul Lewis, ed. (2009). "Allar: A language of India". Ethnologue: Languages of the World (16th ed.). Dallas, Texas: SIL International. Retrieved 2011-09-28.
- M. Paul Lewis, ed. (2009). "Aranadan: A language of India". Ethnologue: Languages of the World (16th ed.). Dallas, Texas: SIL International. Retrieved 2011-09-28.
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