Health of the elderly in India – challenges and affordability

S Dey, D Nambiar, JK Lakshmi, K Sheikh, KS Reddy

In book: Aging in Asia: Findings from New and Emerging Data Initiatives, Publisher: The National Academies Press, Editors: James Smith, Malay Majmundar

India, the world’s second most populous country, has experienced a dramatic demographic transition in the past 50 years, entailing almost a tripling of the population over the age of 60 years (i.e., the elderly) (Government of India, 2011).

This pattern is poised to continue. It is projected that the proportion of Indians aged 60 and older will rise from 7.5% in 2010 to 11.1% in 2025 (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs [UNDESA], 2008). This is a small percentage point increase, but a remarkable figure in absolute terms. According to UNDESA data on projected age structure of the population (2008), India had more than 91.6 million elderly in 2010 with an annual addition of 2.5 million elderly between 2005 and 2010.

The number of elderly in India is projected to reach 158.7 million in 2025 (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2008), and is expected, by 2050, to surpass the population of children below 14 years (Raju, 2006).

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