Life Expectancy in India: Contributing Factors


D. N. Panigrahi


Life expectancy is the expected (in the statistical sense) number of years of life remaining at a given age. It is denoted by ,which means the average number of subsequent years of life for someone now aged , according to a particular mortality experience. Because life expectancy is an average, a particular person may well die many years before or many years after their "expected" survival.

It is important to note that life expectancy is an average. In many cultures, particularly before modern medicine was widely available, the combination of high infant mortality and deaths in young adulthood from accidents, epidemics, plagues, wars, and childbirth, significantly lowers the overall life expectancy. But for someone who survived past these early hazards, living into their sixties or seventies would not be uncommon. For example, a society with a life expectancy of 40 may have very few people dying at age 40: most will die before 30 years of age or after 55.

Factors that are associated with variations in life expectancy include family history, marital status, economic status, physique, exercise, diet, drug use including smoking and alcohol consumption, disposition, education, environment, sleep, climate, and health care

The Constitution charges every state with "raising the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties". The National Health Policy was endorsed by the Parliament of India in 1983 and updated in 2002.

India has a life expectancy of 64/67 years (m/f), and an infant mortality rate of 46 per 1000 live births. The health care issues addressed by the government which resulted in increased life expectancy in India are: Malnutrition, High Infant Mortality Rate, Diseases, Hepatitis, Poor Sanitation, Safe Drinking Water, Female health issues, Rural Health.