The Demographic Structure of the Indian Society

The Demographic Structure of the Indian Society

Question

What is meant by the age structure of the population? Why is it relevant for economic development and growth?

Answer

Age structure of the population is meant by three age groups i.e. Age group of 0-" 14 years, 15-59 years and 60 + years. Children, youth or work force/working population and elder population or old people. In order to explain India's structure of the population, we would like to represent available data of different groups from 1961 to estimated/projected structure in 2026 in the following table.

Age structure of the Indian

Population 1961-2026

Year

Age groups (Percentage round up)

Total

 

0-14 years

15-59 years

60+years

 

1961

41

53

6

100

1971

42

53

5

100

1981

40

54

6

100

1991

38

56

7

100

2001

34

59

7

100

2011

29

63

8

100

2026

23

64

12

100

We notice in the above table that the share of the under 15 age group in the total population has come down from its highest level of 42% in 1971 to 35% in 2001 and it is projected to be reduced further to 23% in 2026. It means birth rate in India is gradually decreasing. The share of 15-59 age group has started increasing from 53% of 1961 and 1976 and reached at 59% in 2001. It will increase again to 63% and 64% in 2011 and 2026 respectively as projected by the technical group on population. Projections (1996-and 2006) of the National Commission on population. It thus, reveals that this age group or working population is all time increasing and the average age is also less than that for most other countries because we see, the 60+years group has remained a meagre share in Indian population. The 60 plus group has come down to 5% in 1971 from 6% of 1961 and then it has started increasing with a moderate pace and rose to 7% in 2001. Its estimated or projected increase is 8% in 2011 and 12% in 2026. Thus, we see that life expectancy is at rise with moderate pace upto 2001 and it is estimated to increase faster since 2011 onwards as the difference between 8% of 2011 and that of 12% in 2026 comes 4% i.e. rapid increase over the trend in the previous decennial censuses. Relevance for economic development and growth.

(i) The increasings percentage of 60 plus age group reveals that life expectancy is at rise because of advancement in medical sciences, public health measures and nutrition. These all are indicator of prosperity and development.

(ii) Decrease in 0-14 years age group reveals that National Population Policy is being implemented properly and people of India have understood the need for family planning in order to check population. (iii) Age structure of the population also informs us that dependency ratio is decreasing and there is all the increase in working population or it indicates that the majority of Indians tend to be young.

(iv) Developing countries can adopt suitable measures to keep their population in balanced size by perusal of data on age composition of the developed countries. Thus, age structure of the population of a country can be studied by the other for useful purposes.

(v) Government of a nation can review and renew her development plans on the basis of information on age structure of population.

(vi) Age structure of the population reveals socio-cultural changes, economic and political percussions and thus, helps in review and reform future planning for the welfare of the nation as a whole.

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