India has seen an improvement in overall life expectancy at birth to 69 years, with women expected to live for 70.4 years and men for 67.8 years, according to the latest Sample Registration Survey (SRS) for 2013-17. The overall life expectancy grew from 68.7 years in 2012-16, when life expectancy for women was 70.2 years and that for men was 67.4 years. Life expectancy for women was 73.70 years in urban centres and 69 in rural areas while the comparative figures for men were 71.20 years and 66.40 years, respectively, as per the SRS report released by the Registrar General of India.
- There is a difference of about 2.6 years in female-male life expectancy at birth at the national level, with the highest difference been recorded at about 6.2 years for Uttarakhand, says the SRS report.
- The increase in life expectancy was driven mainly by improvements in sanitation, housing and education which led to a steady decline in mortality.
- This may also explain the marginal improvement in the difference in life expectancy between urban and rural India, which decreased to 4.7 years in 2013-17 from 4.8 years in 2010-14, as per the report.
- Women continued to enjoy a higher life expectancy than men because they stand to benefit more from the advances in healthcare and living conditions, besides making fewer lifestyle choices that are bad for health.
- India’s life expectancy in 2013-17 was, however, lower than the global life expectancy of 72.6 years this year, according to the United Nations’ ‘World Population Prospects’ report published in June.
Wide variation in different states
- The global life expectancy is expected to increase to 77.1 years by 2050, as per the UN report.
- India also continues to grapple with a wide variation in life expectancy in different states, pointing to the huge gulf in basic amenities available to the residents.
- Delhi born males and Kerala-born females stood the best chance of living the longest in the country, with life expectancy of 73.3 years and 77.8 years respectively at birth.
- In contrast, men born in Chhattisgarh and women born in Uttar Pradesh appeared to have the worst odds, with life expectancy of 63.8 years and 65.60 years respectively at birth.
- At age 70, however, the overall life expectancy among men and women was the highest in Punjab, at 14.2 years, and the lowest in Chhattisgarh, at nine years, according to the survey. Further, among those aged 80 and more than 85 years, Uttarakhand recorded the highest life expectancy.
- The SRS data showed that women at the retirement age of 60 years were more likely to survive than their male counterparts in all states and union territories (UTs), barring Bihar and Jharkhand, with the highest life expectancy in Jammu & Kashmir (24.3 years), followed by Himachal Pradesh (22.3 years) and Kerala (21.9 years).
- Significantly, militancy-ridden J&K, which was recently converted to a UT, figured among the top two states in terms of female life expectancy at birth, infancy, childhood as well as retiring age, according to the SRS data for 2013-17.
- Among those aged 70 years, there was a difference of 1.1 years in life expectancy between men and women at the national level, with J&K registering the highest difference of 3.1 years.
- While women in J&K had the highest life expectancy of 16.8 years at age 70, those in Bihar had the least life expectancy of 9.5 years. The comparative figures for men were the highest in Punjab, at 13.9 years, and the lowest in Chhattisgarh at 8.1 years, as per the report.