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regular-article-logo Thursday, 23 May 2024

India's population estimated at 144 crore, 24 per cent in 0-14 age bracket: UNFPA report

India's population was recorded at 121 crore during the last census, conducted in 2011

PTI New Delhi Published 17.04.24, 10:43 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. File

India's population is estimated to have reached 144 crore, with 24 per cent in the 0-14 age bracket, according to a recent report by the UNFPA.

The United Nations Population Fund's (UNFPA) State of World Population - 2024 report -- "Interwoven Lives, Threads of Hope: Ending Inequalities in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights" -- revealed that India's population is estimated to double in 77 years.

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India leads globally with an estimated population of 144.17 crore, followed by China at 142.5 crore, according to the report.

India's population was recorded at 121 crore during the last census, conducted in 2011.

The report further detailed that an estimated 24 per cent of India's population is aged 0-14 while 17 per cent is within the 10-19 age range.

The segment aged 10-24 is estimated to constitute 26 per cent, with the 15-64 age group making up 68 per cent. Additionally, 7 per cent of India's population is aged 65 years and above, with men having a life expectancy of 71 years and women 74 years.

The report has found that 30 years of progress in sexual and reproductive health has mostly ignored the most marginalised communities worldwide.

According to the report, the child marriage percentage in India was at 23 between 2006-2023.

The report noted that maternal deaths in India have fallen considerably, accounting for 8 per cent of all such fatalities worldwide.

"India's success is often attributed to improved access to affordable, quality maternal health services as well as efforts to address the impact of gender discrimination on health outcomes," the report said.

However, the report noted that India continues to see dramatic inequities in maternal death risk.

Quoting a report on "Estimates and Correlates of District-Level Maternal Mortality Ratio in India" by PLOS Global Public Health, the UNFPA said recent research into India's 640 districts revealed that while nearly a third achieved the sustainable development goal of reducing maternal mortality ratio below 70 per 100,000 live births, 114 districts still have ratios of 210 or more.

"The highest -- 1,671 per 100,000 births -- is seen in Tirap district of Arunachal Pradesh, a rural area with a high proportion of indigenous peoples. While disaggregating these figures by socioeconomic group, ethnicity, caste or religion is challenging, these factors clearly play a role in health outcomes," it said.

The report noted that women with disabilities are up to 10 times more likely to experience gender-based violence than their peers without disabilities.

Improvements in healthcare access have primarily benefited wealthier women and those who belong to ethnic groups that already had better access to health care.

"Women and girls with disabilities, migrants and refugees, ethnic minorities, LGBTQIA+ people, people living with HIV and disadvantaged castes all face greater sexual and reproductive health risks and also unequal access to sexual and reproductive health care," the report said.

Their vulnerability is further compounded by powerful forces such as climate change, humanitarian crises and mass migration, which often have a disproportionate impact on women at the margins of society, it said.

In India, the report said, Dalit activists have argued for legal protection for women facing caste-based discrimination in workplaces and education.

"Many will otherwise remain too poor to support their families and give their children a dignified life, contributing to a cycle that perpetuates poor sexual and reproductive health. Almost half of Dalit women, for instance, receive no antenatal care, and high rates of gender-based violence are considered a means of oppression and control," it said.

The report said millions of women and girls remain far behind, and progress is slowing or stalled on key measures -- 800 women die every day giving birth, unchanged since 2016; a quarter of women cannot say no to sex with their partner and nearly one in 10 women cannot make their own decisions about contraception.

In 40 per cent of countries with data, the report said women's bodily autonomy is diminishing.

"In the space of a generation, we have reduced the unintended pregnancy rate by nearly one-fifth, lowered the maternal death rate by one-third, and secured laws against domestic violence in more than 160 countries," said UNFPA Executive Director Dr Natalia Kanem.

"Despite this progress, inequalities within our societies and health systems are widening, and we have not adequately prioritised reaching those furthest behind. Our work is incomplete but not impossible with sustained investment and global solidarity," she added.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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