India ageing, elderly to make up 20% of the population by 2050: UNFPA report

India ageing, elderly to make up 20% of the population by 2050: UNFPA report

India ageing, elderly to make up 20% of the population by 2050: UNFPA report


The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), India, stated in its 2023 India Ageing Report that by 2046, it is likely that the elderly population in the country will have surpassed that of children (aged up to 15). The decadal growth rate of India’s elderly population is estimated to be 41%, and its share of the total population is projected to double to over 20% by 2050.

What is the India Ageing Report?

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and UNFPA jointly released The India Aging Report, which details the circumstances and demographics of the elderly population to inform improved policy and support initiatives.

What is the UNFPA?

  • An organization for international development called the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) strives to promote maternal and reproductive health around the world. The UNFPA was founded in 1968 to provide funding for initiatives and programs focusing on population, sexual, and reproductive health. To better represent its central position within the United Nations organization, it was renamed the United Nations Population Fund in 1987. 
  • The goal of UNFPA is to establish a society in which every pregnancy is desired, every delivery is safe, and every young person’s potential is realized. To further its goal, UNFPA collaborates with governments, other organizations, and civil society. The majority of donated contraceptives to underdeveloped nations are provided through UNFPA. 

What are the areas that UNFPA focuses on?

  • equipping youth with essential life skills
  • Investing in the health and well-being of adolescents
  • ensuring that everyone has access to high-quality services and rights for sexual and reproductive health
  • addressing harmful practices and gender-based discrimination

What are the recent findings of the India  Ageing Report 2023?

  • x According to the report, India’s old population is projected to expand at a decadal growth rate of 41%. By 2046, India’s senior population may outnumber its population of youngsters under the age of 15, signalling a substantial demographic shift.
  •  In India, the elderly who are in the lowest wealth quintile make up more than 40% of the population. 18.7% of the senior population lacks a source of income, which might negatively impact their quality of life and healthcare use.
  • Between 2022 and 2050, the population’s average age is expected to rise significantly, by almost 279%, according to the report. In line with global trends, this demographic shift is characterized by a preponderance of widowed and highly dependent very old women.
  •  Women in India often live longer than men between the ages of 60 and 80. There are discrepancies amongst states and union territories, with some exhibiting substantial disparities in the life expectancy of men and women at 60.
  • The research emphasizes that the sex ratio among the senior population has been continuously rising since 1991. This indicates that, although this tendency varies throughout different regions of India, men continue to outnumber women in some locations among those who are 60 and older.
  •  The research highlights regional differences in the old-age dependency ratio (the number of seniors per 100 people between the ages of 15 and 59). Union Territories and the northeastern area of India have lower ratios, while the south and west of the country have greater ratios.

What is the significance of the findings of the report?

  • Demographic Shift: The report’s prediction that India’s senior population is quickly increasing and may eventually surpass that of children is a significant demographic change. This underscores the need to allocate resources and build infrastructure to meet the demands of an ageing population, which has consequences for healthcare, social services, and policy planning.
  • Economic Inequalities: The research emphasizes the economic inequalities among the elderly, noting that a sizeable part of them live in poverty and have no source of income. This conclusion is crucial because it highlights the necessity for specialized social welfare programs and financial assistance for elderly people who are in need.
  • Population Aging: One notable demographic trend is the expected increase in the number of people 80 and older. It indicates that this highly reliant and frequently widowed population group needs particular healthcare services and support networks.
  • Gender Differences: Differences in life expectancy between the sexes and the feminization of old poverty are significant results. They draw attention to the demand for services and policies that are gender-sensitive to meet the particular difficulties experienced by elderly women, such as widowhood and economic reliance.

What are the benefits of the report?

  • Policy Development with Insight: The information and conclusions from the research can be used to design policies and strategies that are specifically suited to the demands and difficulties faced by India’s ageing population. This covers social security, healthcare, pension plans, and other things.
  • Resource Allocation: The data can be used by policymakers to distribute resources wisely. For instance, areas with a higher population of older people might get more attention and funding for social services and hospital facilities.
  • Better Healthcare Planning: The report’s conclusions about the demands of the ageing population might aid healthcare planners in being ready for the rising demand for geriatric healthcare services, particularly specialized care for the extremely elderly and dependent.
  • Gender-Sensitive Policies: The paper emphasizes the feminization of elderly poverty and inequalities in life expectancy between men and women. This can result in the creation of gender-sensitive policies and programs to assist elderly women, who could have particular difficulties.
  • Addressing Economic Disparities: By recognizing the financial hardships that older people face, we may take steps to reduce their poverty, improve their quality of life, and lessen the financial strain on their relatives.


The 2023 India Ageing Report concludes by highlighting the necessity of comprehensive policies and strategies to address the concerns brought on by India’s ageing population, with a focus on gender-specific issues and resolving economic inequities among the elderly. Additionally, it draws attention to the regional differences in demographic trends that decision-makers should take into account when making plans.