Elderly population in India is expanding at an unprecedented rate and could surpass the children’s population by mid-century, a new UNFPA report said, underlining that the young India will turn into a rapidly ageing society in the coming decades.
India has one of the highest populations of adolescents and young people in the world.
At the national level, the share of the elderly (60+ years) population is projected to increase from 10.1 per cent in 2021 to 15 per cent in 2036 to 20.8 per cent in 2050, according to the UNFPA’s ‘India Ageing Report 2023′.
“By the end of the century, the elderly will constitute over 36 per cent of the total population of the country. Sharp growth in the elderly population is observed from 2010 onwards along with a decline in the age group of below 15 years, indicating rapidity of ageing in India,” the report said.
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.
“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.
A distinguishing feature of ageing in India is the significant interstate variation in absolute levels and growth (and hence, share) of the elderly population, given the varying stages and pace of demographic transition across states.