Muslims have largest share of young and old population

NEW DELHI: According to the 2011 census data, Indian Muslims have the highest share of children and teenage group, reports a leading English daily. They make up 47% of 0-19 years of age group of the country’s population. Hindus make up 40% while Jains make up 29% of the young population.

Forty-one percent of the country’s population is below 20 years-old and nine percent over 60 years. The rest of the population forming 50% is between 20-29 years.

Across religions, the proportion of children is decreasing while those of the elderly is increasing with marked difference in average life span. As per the 2001 census, the 0-19 years age group made up 44% for Hindus, 52% for Muslims and 35% for Jains and 45% for the entire nation. This is due to slowing down of population growth which is the least for Hindus and maximum for Buddhist and Christians with seven percentage points. The Sikhs and Jains come second with six percentage points.

In case of elderly population, they form 6.4% in Muslims which is nearly 50% lower than the national average. In 2001, the share was 5.8% showing marginal rise.

The elderly population among Sikhs and Jains is the highest with 12% which is 30% more than the national average. This is because the younger generation’s numbers is lower.

Hindus’ elderly and younger generation proportion almost matches the national average as they form 80% of the country.

Both younger and elderly population proportion are significant as they are dependent on the able and adult population (15-59 years of age).

The young dependency ratio has declined from 621 in 2001 to 510 in 2011 due to less number of new births. But the old dependency ratio has risen from 31 in 2001 to 142 in 2011.

Total of young and old dependency ratio in 2001 shows that 752 people dependent on 1,000 people whereas in 2011 the ratio has come to 652.

Thus, Muslims have the highest total dependency ratio of 748 whereas Jains have the lowest ratio of 498 and Hindus have the total dependency ratio at 640. All numbers are still lower since 2001.