More elderly women in India than men, says study

More elderly women in India than men, says study

More elderly women in India than men, says study
Women outnumbered men among the elderly population for the second consecutive decade, which is a "major concern" for policy makers as the fairer sex is “more vulnerable” in old age.

In India, older women account for 5.3 crore in comparison to 5.1 crore elderly men. The sex ratio among elderly population in 2011 is the highest at 1,033 since 1951.

According to the 'Elderly in India 2016' report, the number of elderly men exceeded the number of women until 1991 Census but the trend has been reversed in the past two decades.

There were almost equal number of elderly men and women (1.24 crore each) as per the 1961 Census while the number of men was more compared to women in the next three decades. As per the 1971 Census, there were 1.69 crore men while the women were 1.58 crore. In 1991, elderly men's figure rose to 2.94 crore while women accounted for 2.73 crore.

It was in 2001 that this trend was reversed with women accounting for 3.89 crore and men 3.78 crore. The increasing number of elderly women creates trouble, experts say. "This is also a major concern for policy makers as elderly women are more vulnerable on all fronts compared to elderly men," the report acknowledged.

"Women issues also are of paramount importance in considering social policies for elderly population. Due to better life expectancy, women live longer than men. Exacerbated risks for women across the life course make them more vulnerable in old age. Appropriate care and support for them is a priority," it noted.

Experts attribute the continuous increase in the number of older people to longevity of life achieved because of economic well-being, better medicines and medical facilities and reduction in fertility rates.

Kerala leads

Among the states, Kerala has the highest proportion of elderly people in its population at 12.6 % followed by Goa (11.2 %) and Tamil Nadu (10.4 %). Better lifestyle and medical facilities in respective states could be the reasons for these results, the report noted. Karnataka's elderly account for 7.7 % of the total population in the state.
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