Economists like KK George, who have spent a lifetime studying the "Kerala conundrum", say the state is facing a "second generation problem" of growth.
Thanks to a matrilineal society, women, by and large, are more empowered than in most places in India.
Low population When it comes to low population growth, Kerala competes with Europe and the US.
Many believe that the skewed nature of the economy - it has been called the "money order economy" - is to blame.
Kerala lives off remittances and it lacks a manufacturing base.
Why is India's most socially developed state - and one of the developing world's most advanced regions - an economic laggard?
This question about Kerala, known all over the world for its lush landscapes, sun-drenched beaches and idyllic backwaters, has been a subject of intense debate among economists and social scientists.
And thanks to pioneering land reforms initiated by a Communist government in the late 1950s, the levels of rural poverty here are the lowest in India.
Decent state-funded health care and education even made it the best welfare state in India.
And all but two districts of the state have a lower fertility rate than that needed to maintain current population levels.