For a long time, I used to believe that the demographics of India have radically changed during last decade or so - and that India has "become" a young country, with a majority of its population below 25yrs, or in the 15-35yrs bracket.
This belief about India's "demographic dividend" was also reinforced by the media hype about the emergence of Genext, and even some serious studies about the changing demographics in 21st century India.
"With a median age of 33, China's population is edging toward middle age, while India, with a median age of just 25, is still relatively youthful. The ratio of workers to dependents in China.... will likely peak at 2.6 in 2010, then decline, leaving ever smaller numbers of workers born of the country's one-child policy to support a vast aging population. In India, meanwhile, the demographic transformation will be less sharp but longer lived; the ratio of workers to dependents will peak at 2.2, but not until 2035, suggesting that the potential economic gains from India's demographic dividend are still to come..."
"Indian politicians at the summit expressed confidence that the country will eventually catch up?not because the government will necessarily get its act together, but because of a long-term trend known as India's "demographic dividend." With 1.3 billion citizens, China is the world's most populous country; India is second with a population of 1.1 billion. But because of Beijing's long-standing one-child policy, China's working-age population will begin to decline in the next 10 years. Meanwhile, India's youthfulness - 350 million of its citizens are under age 15 - ensures its workforce will expand for decades, potentially enabling it to outstrip China's economic pace through sheer weight of numbers. "This is a key thing," said Kamal Nath, India's Minister for Commerce and Industry. "China is aging faster than any other country in history. It is growing old before it has grown rich.""
"There comes a tide in the affairs of nations which taken at the flood can lead to fortune... This pattern is unfolding again. The growth paradigm of western economies requires another kind of fuel - knowledge workers and skilled professionals. In the next two decades developed countries will face a shortfall of fuel (skilled professionals) and will once again have to look towards the developing countries to meet the shortfall.... Development, in almost all countries, has been invariably accompanied by a gradual decline in the proportion of working age people to total population as birth rates decline and life expectancy also goes up. Projections show that by 2020 all developed countries will be short of working age people. Even China, which had forced a decline in its birth rates, will experiencea shortfall in the proportion of working age people by 2020. However, India will have a huge surpluse of 47 million people."
Indeed, India's "demographic dividends" was such a deceptive and "feel-good" idea that it is not difficult to beleve it.... But...
Apparently, I was wrong...
The data (which I have generously borrowed from Dilip D'Souza's blog posting), actually shows that there has been no significant change in the age-profile of Indian population since last 4 census.
Apparently, demographically, India was always a YOUNG country!!!
So what has changed - if anything?