Forty-seven per cent of Muslims in India are aged below 20 years, the highest among all religious communities, while children and teenagers make up 40 per cent of the Hindu population.
As per the Census data of 2011, just 29 per cent population among the Jains are in the age group of 0-19 years while among the Christians, it is 37 per cent, Sikhs 35 per cent and Buddhist 37 per cent.
Among India’s total population, around 41 per cent is below 20 years old and nine per cent above 60 years, leaving 50 per cent in the intervening 20-59 age group.
The share of the young population has declined in the country since the previous census in 2001 when it was 45 per cent for the whole country.
Among the Hindus, 44 per cent were below the age group of 20 years, among Muslims 52 per cent and Jains 35 per cent.
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 per cent of the country’s total population.
Interestingly, among the Muslims, just 6.4 per cent of the population is over 60 years, almost 50 per cent lower than the national average. Among Jains and Sikhs, the share of elderly is around 12 per cent 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.