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Senior Citizens - status in India

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Who is called a Senior citizen?

According to the law, a "senior citizen" means any person being a citizen of India, who has attained the age of sixty years or above.

Status in India

  • According to Population Census 2011 there are nearly 104 million elderly persons (aged 60 years or above) in India; 53 million females and 51 million males. A report released by the United Nations Population Fund and HelpAge India suggests that the number of elderly persons is expected to grow to 173 million by 2026.
  • Both the share and size of elderly population is increasing over time. From 5.6% in 1961 the proportion has increased to 8.6% in 20 11 . For males it was marginally lower at 8.2%, while for females it was 9.0%.
  • As regards rural and urban areas, 71% of elderly population resides in rural areas while 29 % is in urban areas.
  • The life expectancy at birth during 2009-13 was 69.3 for females as against 65.8 years for males. At the age of 60 years average remaining length of life was found to be about 18 years (16.9 for males and 19.0 for females) and that at age 70 was less than 12 years (10.9 for males and 12.3 for females). Kerala has got the highest life expectancy at birth, followed by Maharashtra and Punjab. The life expectancy at birth in Kerala is 71.8 years and 77.8 years for males and females respectively as per the SRS Report 2009 - 13.
  • 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. Altogether it was 18.4 for the age group 60 - 64 years. As regards, sex - wise, it was 20.7 for males and 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% in 2011.
  • In rural areas , 66% of elderly men and 28% of elderly women were working, while in urban areas only 46% of elderly men and about 11% of elderly women were working.
  • The percent of literates among elderly persons increased from 27% in 1991 to 44% in 2011.The literacy rates among elderly females (28%) is less than half of the literacy rate among elderly males (59%).
  • Prevalence of heart diseases among elderly population was much higher in urban areas than in rural parts.
  • Most common disability among the aged persons was locomotor disability and visual disability as per Census 2011.
  • In the age - group of 60 - 64 years, 76% persons were married while 22% were widowed. Remaining 2% were either never married or divorced.
  • State - wise data on elderly population divulge that Kerala has maximum proportion of elderly people in its population (12.6 per cent) followed by Goa (11.2 per cent) and Tamil Nadu (10.4 per cent) as per Population Census 2011. he 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).

Source : Elderly in India 2016

Administrative set-up

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, as the name suggests, is to ensure equitable treatment to such sections of society which has suffered social inequalities, exploitation, discrimination and injustice. The Social Defence Division of the Ministry mainly caters to the requirements of Senior Citizens, besides victims of alcoholism and substance abuse, Transgender Persons and Beggars / Destitute.

The Ministry develops and implements Acts, Policies and Programmes for welfare of Senior Citizens in collaboration with State Governments/ Union Territory Administrations to ensure that Senior Citizens may lead a secured, dignified and productive life.

Source : Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment

Related resources

  1. Long-term Care of Older Persons in India
RAM LAL Jan 28, 2019 07:51 PM


S.Bhaytachery Dec 06, 2018 03:03 PM

Being a Senior citizen we must pray our PM to give priority for the real Home to solve ongoing increasing population
of helpless senior citizens.

Rohinton Khokhri Oct 22, 2018 10:43 PM

Once the person attains the age of 60 years he is called senior citizen.Than why does bank and other govt dept. says that 60 years should be completed.


State and district wise senior citizens listout and placed in public to know knowledge for them

Aurobinda Mohapatra Dec 02, 2017 09:22 AM

The article was useful for me. I needed the information, I got it from Vikaspedia. Thanks Vikaspedia Team.

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