The silver lining in India’s imminent ageing problem

Submitted by pmassetti on
Body (17.10.2023) India’s youthful population is often described as a key strength of the economy. India is among the youngest emerging market nations, and will remain so in the near future—a demographic dividend that makes it an attractive investment destination. According to the United Nations, a country is considered to be “ageing” if the share of the population over the age of 65 is more than 7%, “aged” when the share exceeds 14%, and “super-aged” when it crosses 20%. India will not be super-aged until 2050, but most Brics members will attain this dubious distinction earlier. Having grown used to the idea of a young, aspirational India, it is quite disconcerting to discover that a rising elderly population could pose significant social and economic challenges in the years ahead, as the recently released India Ageing Report 2023 by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) noted. The experience is not unique to India: the gradual ageing of a population over time is a natural demographic shift caused by falling fertility rates and higher longevity. Thus, it is not the ageing per se, but the pace of ageing that is a matter of concern. The population of India has been ageing at a faster rate since the early 2010s. It took 67 years from 1950 to 2017 for the 65-plus population to double from 3.1% to 6%, but the next doubling is projected to happen in just 25 years. By 2050, one in five Indians will be over 60 years of age, that is, effectively a senior citizen.

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