Prelims cum Mains

India enters 37-year period of demographic dividend

In News:

  • As per the data of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), India is expected to enjoy demographic dividend till about 2055.


  • Demographic Dividend: UNFPA defines ‘demographic dividend’ as the growth potential that results from shifts in a population’s age structure. This transition happens largely because of a decrease in the total fertility rate (TFR, which is the number of births per woman) after the increase in life expectancy gets stabilised.
  • Working-age population: People between 15 and 64 years of age
  • Dependant population: Children aged 14 or below as well as people above 65 years of age

News Summary:India to benefit from demographic dividend:

  • Since 2018, India’s working-age population has grown larger than the dependant population.
  • Such a shift in the population structure can propel growth, as happened in many Asian economies like Japan, China, South Korea.
  • As per UNFPA, this bulge in the working-age population is going to last till 2055, or 37 years from its beginning.

Health and Education key to benefit from dividend:

  • It is important to note that the change in population structure alone cannot push growth. There are many other factors.
  • In the late 20th century demographic dividend in Asia resulted in a seven-fold increase in the GDP of many countries. But in Latin America the growth was only two-fold.
  • UNFPA states that countries can only harness the economic potential of the youth bulge if they are able to provide good health, quality education and decent employment to its entire population.

Asia countries which benefitted from demographic dividend:Japan:

  • Japan was among the first major economies to experience rapid growth because of changing population structure.
  • The country’s demographic-dividend phase lasted from 1964 to 2004.
  • In five of these years, Japan grew in double digits; the growth rate was above 8% in two years, and a little less than 6% in one. Growth slid below 5% in only two of these 10 years.


  • China entered this stage in 1994 — 16 years after Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms started in December 1978.
  • Although its growth accelerated immediately after the reforms, the years of demographic dividend helped sustain this rate for a very long period. In the 16 years between 1978 and 1994 (post-reform, pre-dividend) China saw eight years of double-digit growth.
  • In the 18 years since 1994 there have been only two years when China could not cross the 8% growth mark.


  • In Singapore, the dividend years started in 1979, and in the next 10 years there were only two years when its economy grew at less than 7%. The island country saw double-digit growth in four of these 10 years.
  • South Korea entered this phase in 1987 and in the next 10 years there were only two years when its growth rate fell below 7%.
  • In Hong Kong, it was 1979 when the dividend years kicked in, and the growth rate dipped below 8% in only two of the next 10 years.

About: United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

  • UNFPA is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency created in 1969. It was formerly called the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (hence the acronym UNFPA, which continued despite the name change).
  • Its mission is to deliver a world where “every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled”.
  • UNFPA calls for the realization of reproductive rights for all and supports access to a wide range of sexual and reproductive health services.
  • UNFPA Supports reproductive health care for women and youth in more than 150 countries, training of thousands of health workers to ensure supervised child births etc., as well as censuses, data collection and analyses, which are essential for development planning.
  • Since UNFPA started its work, the world has seen progress: The number and rate of women dying from complications of pregnancy or childbirth has been halved.
  • Guided by the 1994 Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), UNFPA partners with governments, civil society and other agencies to advance its mission.

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