Indians are living longer on average, as the country’s life expectancy has shown an increase between the 2012-16 and 2013-17 periods.
In the former timeframe, average life expectancy was 68.7 years, with men living for 67.4 years and women for 70.2 years on average. As of the latter period, life expectancy has gone up to 69 overall and to 67.8 and 70.4 for men and women respectively. In the last four decades, life expectancy has increased by 19.3 years according to the Sample Registration Survey which provided the data: in the 1970-75 period, it stood at 49.7 years. The increase is being attributed to improvements in education, housing, and sanitation, according to The Economic Times.
Disparities do remain, however, with varying estimates of life expectancies between states. Women born in Kerala, for example, live for 77.8 years on average. Women in Uttar Pradesh live for 65.6 years on average. Similarly, men born in Delhi live for 73.3 years on average, compared to just 63.8 years for men born in Chhattisgarh.
One disparity which is closing is the life expectancy differences along the urban-rural divide. While those in urban areas still live longer on average, the gap is currently less than five years with urban-born Indians living for 72.4 years and those in rural areas living for 67.7 years. In the 1970-75 period, the gap in life expectancies between the regions exceeded a decade. While an improvement, it nonetheless remains a major example of the urban-rural divide and reinforces the reality that access to essential services such as adequate sanitation and healthcare is unequal between these areas of the country.
Worldwide, life expectancy at birth was 72 years in 2016 according to the World Health Organization, with men living for 69.8 years on average and women for 74.2 years. By the 2030-35 period, the United Nations estimates that men in India will live for 70.84 years on average and women for 73.94 years.