Old Age Poverty In The Indian States: What The Household Data Can Say?
In the absence of any official measures of old age poverty, this paper uses National Sample Survey household-level data to investigate the extent and nature of living standards and incidence of poverty among elderly in sixteen major states in India. We construct both individual and household-level poverty indices for the elderly and examine the sensitivity of these poverty indices to different equivalence scales and size economies in consumption. In general, these adjusted estimates indicate that households with elderly members have lower incidence of poverty in all of the states, albeit to different degrees. Part of the explanation appears to be related to differences in dependency ratios in households with and without elderly, where a significant percentage of elderly, especially men, continue to work well past the age of sixty. The favourable effect of the presence of elderly on household living standards and incidence of poverty is however weakened once we control for dependency ratio, among other things, with significant inter-state variation noted in our sample.
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