India Grapples with Rapidly Growing Elderly Population, Reveals UN Population Fund Report

Rozana Spokesman  | Amanat Thaper

News, Nation

The Demographic Landscape of India Shifts: A Glimpse into the Impending Challenges of an Aging Society

Elderly Population

NEW-DELHI: In a significant revelation, a recent report by the United Nations Population Fund has shed light on the unprecedented growth of India's elderly population, which is anticipated to surpass the number of children by mid-century. The country, known for its youthful demographics, is on the brink of transforming into an aging society in the decades to come, indicating a shift in its demographic trajectory.

As per the report, the proportion of the elderly population, defined as individuals aged 60 and above, stood at 10.1 percent in 2021 on a national scale. This figure is projected to surge to 15 percent by the year 2036 and further accelerate to 20.8 percent by 2050. By the close of this century, elderly individuals are expected to constitute over 36 percent of the total population.

Alarming insights from the report reveal that over 40 percent of India's elderly populace are financially disadvantaged, lacking sufficient assets. Moreover, nearly 18.7 percent of the elderly struggle without a reliable source of income. This level of poverty among the elderly poses a significant threat to their overall quality of life, demanding urgent attention and intervention. Disturbingly, 2 out of every 5 elderly individuals in India fall within the asset-poor category. The depth of this financial disparity varies across regions, with states like Jammu and Kashmir at 4.2 percent and Punjab at 5 percent, contrasting sharply with the stark realities in Lakshadweep at 40.2 percent and Chhattisgarh at a staggering 47 percent.

The data underscores the pressing need for strategic planning and holistic policies that address the socio-economic challenges accompanying this demographic shift. Notably, India must prepare to adapt its healthcare, social security, and employment systems to adequately support and enhance the lives of its burgeoning elderly population in the near future.