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Muslims have highest young population in India : Census



Overall, life cycles of different religious communities in the country have shown common trends of declining proportion of children and teenagers and increasing shares of elderly citizens. The proportion of elderly people in the country has risen across all communities as life spans have generally increased.

According to the Census data, people of the age of 60 years and above make up about nine percent of the country's total population. Interestingly, among the Muslims, just 6.4% of the population is over 60 years, almost 50% lower than the national average. Among Jains and Sikhs, the share of elderly is around 12% each.

Age-wise population shares reveal another important aspect of the lives of people - dependency. Both children and the elderly are dependent on the able and adult population. Overall, the young dependency ratio -- the number of children aged up to 15 years dependent on every 1,000 members of the working age population has declined from 621 in 2001 to 510 in 2011. This is a direct consequence of declining number of children.

At the other end of life, the old dependency ratio has increased from 131 in 2001 to 142 in 2011, in accord with the growing elderly population. Across religious communities, Muslims have the highest total dependency ratio of 748 compared to the lowest ratio for Jains which is just 498. For Hindus, the ratio is 640.