After experiencing fluctuations in the decades immediately after Indian independence, the economies of South Indian states have registered higher than national average growth over the past three decades. While South Indian states have improved in some socio-economic metrics, poverty continues to affect the region much like the rest of the country, although it has considerably decreased over the years. HDI in the southern states is high and the economy has undergone growth at a faster rate than most northern states. Literacy rates in the southern states are higher than the national average with approximately 80% of the population capable of reading and writing. The fertility rate in South India is 1.9, the lowest of all regions in India.
South India also known as Peninsular India has been known by several other names. The term "Deccan" referring to the area covered by the Deccan Plateau that covers most of peninsular India excluding the coastal areas is an anglicised form of the word Prakritdakkhin derived from the Sanskrit word dakshina meaning south.Carnatic derived from "Karnād" or "Karunād" meaning high country has also been associated with South India.