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India Ageing Report 2023


The India Ageing Report 2023 was released recently by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS).


GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key highlights of the report
  2. United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
  3. International Institte for Population Sciences (IIPS)

Key highlights of the report

Key Data Sources:

  • The report relies on the latest available data from various sources, including the Longitudinal Ageing Survey in India (LASI) from 2017–18, the Census of India, Population Projections by the Government of India spanning from 2011 to 2036, and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ World Population Prospects for 2022.

Projection of Elderly Population:

  • The report forecasts a substantial increase in India’s elderly population, doubling from 149 million in 2022 to 347 million in 2050.

Decadal Growth Rate:

  • The current decadal growth rate for India’s elderly population stands at 41%, and at this pace, it is estimated that the elderly will constitute over 20% of the total population by 2050.
  • By 2046, the elderly population is expected to surpass the population of children aged 0 to 15 years.

Population Aged 80 and Above:

  • The report projects a growth rate of around 279% in the population aged 80 and above between 2022 and 2050, with a predominant presence of widowed and highly dependent elderly women.

Vulnerabilities of Elders:

  • Over 40% of India’s elderly population falls within the poorest wealth quintile, with approximately 18.7% living without any income.
  • Such high levels of poverty among the elderly can adversely affect their quality of life and healthcare utilization.
Higher Life Expectancy for Women:
  • On average, women exhibit higher life expectancy at both age 60 and age 80 compared to men. However, variations exist across Indian States and Union Territories.
  • The sex ratio among the elderly has been steadily rising since 1991, while the overall population sex ratio remains stagnant.
Inter-State Variations:
  • States in southern India and some northern states like Himachal Pradesh and Punjab report a higher share of elderly population compared to the national average in 2021.
  • This gap is expected to widen by 2036.
  • States with higher fertility rates and slower demographic transitions, including Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, anticipate an increase in the elderly population share between 2021 and 2036.
  • Central and northeastern regions, in contrast to southern and western India, have a younger profile as indicated by the aging index.
Challenges Faced by Elderly Population:
  • Poverty among the elderly is not uniform and is gendered, with older women more likely to be widowed, living alone, having no income, fewer assets, and full dependence on family support.
  • The feminization and ruralization of India’s aging population are noted as major challenges.
Suggestions and Recommendations:
  • A special focus on older persons in disaster-preparedness plans is called for.
  • The government should increase awareness about schemes for older persons.
  • All Old Age Homes should be brought under regulatory oversight.
  • Efforts should be made to facilitate in-situ (at-home) aging, including creating short-term care facilities and encouraging the formation of elderly self-help groups.
  • Multigenerational households for the elderly should be promoted.
  • The report highlights the lack of credible data on various issues related to the elderly in India.

UN Population Fund (UNFPA):

  • UNFPA, originally known as the United Nations Fund for Population Activities from 1969 to 1987, is a trust fund under the jurisdiction of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
  • Established in 1969, it is the largest international source of assistance for population programs.
  • UNFPA plays a significant role in implementing the 1994 Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development.

UNFPA is the United Nations’ sexual and reproductive health agency with a mission to create a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

  • Functions: UNFPA carries out its mission through the following functions:
  • Reproductive Health: UNFPA supports programs and initiatives related to reproductive health, encompassing family planning, ensuring safe motherhood, and the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Population Issues: It addresses population problems in both developed and developing countries and explores strategies to tackle them effectively.
  • Gender Equality: UNFPA works on issues related to the status of women, focusing on closing the gender gap in education and promoting gender equality.
Program Implementation:

UNFPA’s assistance programs are initiated and carried out only in response to requests from governments.

It collaborates with governments and other partners to fund and support various projects, research endeavors, and advocacy programs.

International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS):

  • IIPS is a prominent research and training institution specializing in population studies, located in Mumbai, India.
  • It was established in 1956 through collaboration between the Government of India, the United Nations, and the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust.

Regional Center:

  • IIPS serves as a regional center for the Asia and Pacific region, making it a hub for population research and studies in this geographic area.

Autonomous Organization:

  • IIPS operates as an autonomous organization under the purview of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India.
  • This autonomy allows it to carry out its research and training activities independently.

Research and Funding:

  • The institute is involved in extensive research activities related to population studies, utilizing both its own resources and external funding.
  • Through research, it contributes valuable insights and knowledge in the field of population studies.

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023