Ageing Process in India and in Delhi

Like many other Southeast Asian countries, India is also experiencing rapid fertility decline, increase in life expectancy and a rapid change in age structure since Independence. During 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, the variation in median age was less than 1 year whereas between 1980-1990, it was 1.3 years and adding 2.5 years more between 2000 and 2010. It is seen that in some developing countries demographic transition was much faster than the developed countries. Even in India regional variation is so wide that one can see the context of both developed and developing block demography. Thus a considerable regional variation in age structure is observed in this vast country. It has been observed that in past 40 years, the decline in death rate for the country as whole is sharper than what Delhi has observed for the same time period. But level of mortality remained consistently higher for the country as a whole than it is observed for Delhi. Almost same is true for the birth rate also where country is showing a steady decline during the past 40 years but maintaining a higher level always. Delhi, on the other hand had shown a decline but with large amount of fluctuations. However, the decline in birth rate is almost same for the country as well as for Delhi (Fig. 1).

In demographic studies on ageing, scholars have shown that while through ageing process, workforce experiences a shrinkage, by mitigating international

Fig. 1 Natural Increase (NI) in India and in Delhi: 1971-2006. Source Sample Registration System data of respective years

migration that is checked by several countries (Supan and Jurges 2008; Bloom et al. 2008). Though at the national level migration has little role to play in determining age structure, at the local level it could be an important factor, depending upon the volume of migrants. Despite being a region of low fertility and low mortality for a longer duration of time, proportion of elderly remained low in Delhi because of net inflow of young age population in the territory.

Population projection for Delhi (ORGI 2006) estimated that in 2026 Delhi will have 10 % of its population as elderly when India will have 12.4 %. It also has estimated that old-age dependency will show an increase of 73 points between 2001 and 2026 (from 119 to 192) for India and an increase of 67 points (from 81 to 148) for Delhi during the same time period. The life expectancy has been projected to be 73.5 for the males and 77.4 for females in Delhi during 2021-2025. Life expectancy for India, however, will be lower at 69.8 years for the males and 72.3 years for the females. Thus it appears that in the next decade also age composition of the state of Delhi will largely be determined by young age migration flow.

India is a country where every citizen enjoys the right to move freely throughout the territory of India (Article 19 (1/d)). Delhi experienced a heavy inflow of migrants and over the past 4 decades more than one-third of its population was comprised by the migrant population and expected to remain so in 2011 also (Fig. 2). 2001 census had shown that net migration flow in Delhi was 1.7 million during preceding decade (ORGI 2001). Thus the proportion of 60+ population is only 6.8 % compared to 8.6 % in the country as a whole in population census 2011 (Fig. 3). Migration, which is age and sex selective, has a strong impact in the population characteristics of Delhi. Contrary to the declining sex ratio of the country over the decades, sex ratio among the elderly favours the females in India (Das and Vemuri 2009). However, since migration is sex selective, sex ratio among

Fig. 2 Percentage of migrants to total population in Delhi by sex. Source Based on Census of India of respective years

Age structure in India and Delhi. Source Based on Census 2011

Fig. 3 Age structure in India and Delhi. Source Based on Census 2011

Table 1 Sex ratio among the aged in India and in Delhi

Sex ratio












Source Census of India, 2011

the 60+ population in Delhi favours the males (Table 1). Nonetheless the growth rate among the elderly women for Delhi is much higher than it is observed for the country as a whole. Overall Delhi is a young state and is expected to remain so in the next decade.

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