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According to most recent age-wise population projections by the United Nations (UN) (World Population Prospects, the 2012 revision), India had a total of over 93.3 million persons in 60+ age groups by the end of the first decade of this century and became the country with the largest population of older adults in the world after China. The UN also projected that the number of India's aged would grow by about 18.96 million between 2010 and 2015, or over 3.8 per cent annually—much more than the annual average growth rate of the younger or working age cohorts (0–14 years and 15–59 years). This trend is expected to accelerate in coming decades for various socio-demographic and health reasons (Dyson, 2004; Guilmoto and Rajan, 2000; Nair and Padmadas, 1999; Visaria, 2004) and pointed to the need for understanding its various ramifications, particularly for those in the realm of health care services and their delivery mechanisms. There is considerable merit in a review of old age health and its important dimensions—including size, aetiology and socio-economic distribution of the sick and disabled (i.e. epidemiology of aging)— especially for developing policies to meet the heath care needs of the growing number of older persons. At its core, this analysis is concerned with some of these issues.
A major emerging demographic issue of the twenty-first century is the ageing of populations as an inevitable consequence of the demographic transition experienced by most countries. While all countries are experiencing growing proportions of the elderly, developing countries are currently ageing faster than developed countries. Population Ageing in India creates a holistic research base by looking at the demographics of the ageing population and reviewing existing studies. It delves deep into the socioeconomic layers of elderly health, work participation and contribution to income generation, national policy in practice and policy initiatives to ensure elderly wellbeing in other Asian countries. The shift of age composition to an older age structure has important implications for individuals, society as well as the country. Therefore, there is a need to promote harmony between development and demographic change by increasing the economic and social sources of support for the elderly.
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