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Business News/ News / India/  India's elderly population to double by 2050, surpassing number of children, warns report

India's elderly population to double by 2050, surpassing number of children, warns report

India's elderly population is predicted to double to 20.8% by 2050, with the number reaching 36% by the end of the century, according to a report by the United Nations Population Fund and the International Institute for Population Sciences.

India's elderly population to increase in the coming days (Somnath Sen)Premium
India's elderly population to increase in the coming days (Somnath Sen)

A report has warned about the rising population of senior citizens in India. According to the ‘India Ageing Report 2023’, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in collaboration with the International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS), India's one-fifth of population will comprise people above 60 by 2050. Further, by then of this century, the elderly will outstrip the number of children between zero and 14, it added.

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As per the report, there were 149 million persons aged 60 years and above in 2022 (as of 1 July), comprising around 10.5% of the country’s population. And, by 2050, this population will double to 20.8%, with the absolute number at 347 million. By the end of the century, the elderly will constitute over 36% of the total population of the country, the report predicted.

The report noted that the elderly population in India is expanding at an unprecedented rate and may be expected to surpass the children's population by mid-century.

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“Four years before 2050, the population size of the elderly in India will be higher than the population size of children aged 0-14 years. By that time, the population share of 15–59 years will also see a dip. Undoubtedly, the relatively young India today will turn into a rapidly ageing society in the coming decades," it said.

Further, mentioning the condition of the elderly, the report said that more than 40% are in the poorest wealth quintile.

This level of poverty among the elderly may affect their quality of life and healthcare utilization, according to the UNFPA's India Ageing Report 2023.

An analysis of their work, pension, and income status indicates that 18.7% elderly did not have any income. This proportion was above the national level in 17 states, ranging from 19.3% in Uttarakhand to 42.4% in Lakshadweep, the report said.

Currently, India has one of the highest populations of adolescents and young people in the world with 65% of Indians under 35. However, the aging population differs statewide in the country. For instance, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab reported a higher share of the elderly than the national average in 2021. This gap is expected to widen by 2036. Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, also expect to see an increase in the share of the elderly between 2021 and 2036. However, the level will remain lower than the Indian average in these states, the report stated.

The report revealed a spending of 1259.6 billion on the elderly under Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives from 2014 to 2021, an increase of 182% in seven years.

"Since 2014, CSR spending on senior citizens' welfare has remained less than 0.3% of total spending despite a 516%, from 89 million to 551 million, in the last seven years," it said.

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Published: 28 Sep 2023, 07:48 AM IST
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