Urban-rural life expectancy gap widened slightly before pandemic
New Delhi: The life expectancy of the average Indian at birth increased to 69.7 years in the pre-pandemic 2015-2019 period as compared to 69.4 years in the 2014-18 period, according to data released by the Office of the Registrar General of India (ORGI) on Monday.
This continued a trend of increasing life expectancy seen since the first life tables were published for the 1970-75 period, when Indians were only expected to live up to 49.7 years. However, the gap between urban and rural India and that between women and men widened.
Life expectancy at any age is the average number of additional years a person is expected to live at current mortality trends. Life expectancy at birth is the age a person is expected to live up to. Estimates of life expectancy are based on death rates estimated through the Sample Registration System (SRS), an ORGI survey conducted to provide mortality and fertility estimates.
Life expectancy at birth increased by 0.3 year for rural India to 68.3 years in 2015-19. For urban India, which has always had a higher life expectancy, the increase was bigger (0.4 year). Urban Indians were expected to live up to 73 years. This means the gap between rural and urban India, narrowest in 2014-18 (4.6 years), increased back again to that in 2013-17 (4.7 years).
Women, whose life expectancy at birth was less than men only in 1970-75 and 1976-80, also increased their gap in life expectancy with men. Men and women were expected to live up to 68.2 years and 70.7 years in 2014-18, which is a gap of 2.5 years. In 2015-19, they were expected to live up to 68.4 years and 71.1 years, which is a gap of 2.7 years, the 11th highest for the 33 five-year periods since 1970-75 for which life tables have been published.