This piece originally appeared on Livemint.com
A lot is made of the huge proportion of young people in India, a number that is expected to grow in the coming years. So are India’s elderly, placing demands on its health infrastructure and social order. According to Census 2011, there were about 11.28 million Indians above the age of 80 years, of which 605,000 were above 100 years in age. The visualisation below maps them by states and by districts: Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab are the clear leaders. The size of each box represents the absolute number of the elderly, while the colour represents their share in the total population of that district.
Source: Census 2011
State snapshot of 80-plus: Just three states—Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal—account for one-third of India’s 80+ population. But in relative terms, elderly as a percentage of total population, it is Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab that lead. Among the populous states, Jharkhand and Bihar have the lowest percentage of the elderly in their population.
District snapshot of 80-plus: Seven of the 15 most populous districts in terms of number of people above the age of 80 years are in West Bengal, led by North Twenty Four Parganas. Also in this list are several metros including Pune, Bangalore, Mumbai Suburban and Kolkata.
Age, sex ratio and literacy: Both Kerala and Himachal Pradesh have six districts apiece in the top 15 districts with the highest percentage population of the elderly. Barring Lahul & Spiti in Himachal, all districts in this list have a sex ratio that is above the national average; and all 15 districts have a literacy rate above the national average. By comparison, the bottom 15 districts, led by Arunachal Pradesh with five districts, are characterised by low literacy rates.
District snapshot of 100-plus: Ten of the 15 districts with the maximum number of centenarians are in Uttar Pradesh. Yet, it is North Twenty Four Parganas, in West Bengal, that leads all districts, having more than twice as many people above the age of 100 years as Kanpur Nagar in UP.