As India moves closer to become the most populous country in the next seven years, the country is facing serious concern about the ageing population. Both the proportion and size of older adults population is increasing over time. From 5.6% in 1961 the proportion had risen to 8.6% in 2011. For males, it was marginally lower at 8.2%, while for females it was 9.0%.
As regards rural and urban areas, 71% of the older adult population resides in rural areas, while 29% is in urban areas. According to some studies, India is ageing much faster and may have nearly 20 per cent population of 60 years and above by 2050.
For 2013, the age-specific death rate per 1000 population for the age group 60 – 64 years was 19.7 for rural areas and 15.0 for urban areas. The males had a higher rate of 20.7, whereas it was 16.1 for females.
The old-age dependency ratio climbed from 10.9% in 1961 to 14.2% in 2011 for India as a whole. For females and males, the value of the ratio was 14.9 % and 13.6% respectively in 2011.
In rural areas, 66% of older adult men and 28% of older adult women were working, while in urban areas only 46% of older adult men and about 11% of older adult women were working.
The per cent of literates among older adults increased from 27% in 1991 to 44% in 2011. The literacy rates among older adult females (28%) is less than half of the literacy rate among older adult males (59%).
The prevalence of heart diseases among older adults population was much higher in urban areas than in rural parts.
Most common disability among the older persons was locomotor disability and visual disability as per Census 2011.
In the age – group of 60 – 64 years, 76% of persons were married while 22% were widowed. Remaining 2% were either never married or divorced.
The state-wise data on older adults population divulge that Kerala has the maximum proportion of older adult (12.6 per cent) followed by Goa (11.2 per cent) and Tamil Nadu (10.4 per cent) as per Population Census 2011. The least proportion is in Dadra & Nagar Haveli (4.0 per cent) followed by Arunachal Pradesh (4.6 per cent) and Daman & Diu and Meghalaya (both 4.7 per cent).