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India’s Life Expectancy on World Health Day 2021

  • 08 Apr 2021
  • 5 min read

Why in News

According to the estimates from the Sample Registration System (SRS)-based Abridged Life Tables 2014-18 of the Census and Registrar General of India, the life expectancy of an Indian child born on World Health Day 2021 is below the world's average.

  • Every year 7th April marks the celebration of World Health Day.

Key Points

  • Life Expectancy:
    • It is an estimate of the average number of additional years that a person of a given age can expect to live.
      • The most common measure of life expectancy is life expectancy at birth.
    • India’s life expectancy (for a child born in 2021) which is 69 years and 4 months is less than the world’s average lifespan of 72.81 years.
  • Infant Mortality Rate (IMR):
    • It is the number of deaths per 1,000 live births of children under one year of age.
    • For India, IMR is 33.
  • Life Expectancy will be Reduced Further Due to Pollution:
    • The quality of life of these children will suffer and the average life span is estimated to be cut short by two years and six months due by constant exposure to “toxic air” in the country.
      • India topped the chart by recording the world's highest annual average concentration of PM 2.5 exposure in its air in 2019, according to the State of Global Air 2020.
      • In 2020, India was home to 35 of the world’s 50 most polluted cities, according to IQ Air’s World Air Quality Report.
        • These included Ghaziabad, Bulandshahr and Delhi among the top 10.
    • Thus, an Indian child will live for 66 years and 8 months only and may not survive to celebrate his/her 67th birthday beyond April 2089.

World Health Day

SRS-Based Abridged Life Tables

  • About:
    • A life table states the probabilities of survival of a hypothetical group or cohort at different ages, which gradually diminish due to deaths.
    • With the introduction of the Sample Registration System (SRS), an alternative source of data has become available for construction of life tables.
    • Based on SRS data, life tables have been prepared for the periods 1970-75, 1976-80, 1981-85 and 1986-90 at five yearly intervals. Since the 1986-90 issue, life tables have been brought out annually on a five yearly moving average basis so as to form a continuous series.
  • Use:
    • It is a conventional method of expressing the most fundamental and essential facts about the age distribution of mortality and is a powerful tool for measuring the probability of life and death of various age groups.
    • It enables us to understand the implication of age-specific mortality rate in terms of average life expectancy. In India, it has been the practice to construct life tables using age composition of the population from successive population censuses.


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