India Ageing Report 2023


The report has been prepared by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the International Institute of Population Sciences (IIPS) on the welfare of senior citizens in India.


GS-01 (Human geography, Indian Society)

Highlights of the report:

  • India’s elderly population has been growing rapidly.
  • The share of the population over the age of 60 years is projected to increase from 10.5 percent in 2022 to 20.8 percent in 2050.
  • Sharp growth in the elderly population is observed from 2010 onwards along with a decline in the age group below 15 years, indicating rapidity of ageing in India.
  • India has witnessed a moderate to high pace of decadal growth in the elderly population since 1961.
  • A distinguishing feature of ageing in India is the significant interstate variation in absolute levels and growth (and hence, share) of the elderly population, given the varying stages and pace of demographic transition across states.
  • Most of the states in the southern region and select northern states such as Himachal Pradesh and Punjab reported a higher share of the elderly population than the national average in 2021.
  • Most of the states in the southern region and select northern states such as Himachal Pradesh and Punjab reported a higher share of the elderly population than the national average in 2021.
  • Share of the elderly population would be substantial in most of the states in the coming decades with one in five persons being elderly in the southern states by 2036.
  • A higher old-age dependency ratio indicates a higher demand for support from the next generation in terms of caregiving, and social and financial needs.
  • Life expectancy of women at 60 years is greater than 20 years in states such as Rajasthan, Haryana, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir, raising concerns about their social and economic well-being.

Three aspects of ageing that create significant challenges are :

  • Women living longer than men (feminization) resulting in higher levels of widowhood and associated socio-cultural and economic deprivations and dependencies.
  • High proportion of rural population among the elderly.
  • Ageing of the aged persons.

Response from Government:

  • MIPAA, 2002: MIPAA is the first global agreement which recognizes older people as contributors to the development of their societies, and which commits governments to including ageing in all social and economic development policies, including poverty reduction programmes.
  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): The SDGs also include goals that address the needs of senior citizens, mainly through the following:
    • (a) SDG 1: eradicating poverty;
    • (b) SDG 3: ensuring healthy lives and well-being at all ages;
    • (c) SDG 5: promoting gender equality;
    • (d) SDG 8: full and productive employment and decent work for all;
    • (e) SDG 10: reducing inequalities among and within countries; and
    • (f) SDG 11: making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
  • Article 41: The Indian Constitution mandates the well-being of senior citizens under Article 41, which states: “The State shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and in other cases of undeserved want.”
  • Social security schemes: Financial security is a significant concern for senior citizens owing to loss of income and wealth, leading to poverty and accompanying problems. Schemes like Antodaya Anna Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana, Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana, Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS), Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme, Jeevan Pramaan, Atal Pension Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Suraksha bima yojana, Senior Citizens’ Savings Scheme (SCSS) helps the senior citizens meet their needs.


The report recommends addressing the issue of a scarcity of relevant data related to elderly well-being, increasing awareness of schemes meant for the elderly, encouraging at-home ageing as it results in better care, and stressing the advantages of elderly people living in multigenerational households, among others.