Population and Life Expectancy


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Isabell Clerk writes about the anthropological study of India using a collection that is neither a primary review of various topics addressed over the years nor a survey of contemporary work. Instead, she uses a timely investigation of rapid changes within Indian society. She shows the various information collected on population, referred to as caste, and is a prerequisite composition of factors affecting Indias demographic growth. This book explores how such far-reaching economic and social changes in contemporary India affect caste (population), class, and gender. This particular volume provides a valuable framework for discussion of the relevant topics and within the complexity range of recently published research on the anthropologies of the Indian subcontinent in the era of globalization. The book is also an essential summary of libraries supporting graduate and undergraduate programs inclined towards anthropology. Moreover, she shows why the socioeconomic status of India has persisted in its low life expectancy rate and later suggests how the repulsive change has come about up to 69 years increment.


The writer intends to look at the books first chapter, which majors on Caste and Class in Liberal India, which begins from page 23 and hence focuses on population and life expectancy. Through this chapter, the research intends to understand and relate how the two variables are related and the dependable variants of this topic. It is the only point of reference and thus a detailed summary or instead write up about the demography for an anthropologist on population, castes, and classes by Christophe Z. Guilmoto. Additionally, it looks at the work of Robert Deliege, which emphasizes caste, class, and untouchability concerning population and life expectancy as well as income per capita, and level of education. It continues to suggest future recommendations from the work of Craig Jeffrey about great expectations in youth in contemporary India, which has been discussed as the hopeful generation that will live to outdo the initial ancestors and forefathers. A further summary on the caste and collective memory in South India from their medical database to back up the research content and confirm that the low caste has more faith in their beliefs and cultural practices than education and medical assistance, hence a high mortality rate.

Position on the Topic

My position on the selected topic is that India, a third-world country, should borrow a lot from the western community to improve their standard of life and even boost their life expectancy rate. The indigenous practices cannot stand up to the quality of life people currently live in this modern world, and hence they should rely more on education. Instead, they suffered high mortality for an extended period due to ignorance and illiteracy, leading to poverty. Unfortunately, in the contemporary world where everyone is educated, there has now evolved a new problem which is lack of employment. This drives the graduate to desperate moves such as involvement in politics and traditional cultures. Sadly, these activities will never develop and will continue to suffer high mortality, incredibly the less privileged from the ghettos who have poor hygiene and barely enough to eat. Nonetheless, there is hope for increased life expectancy and reduced mortality because more reproductive measures have been used to curb child-birth deaths and promote reproduction.

Population, Socioeconomic Factors and Life Expectancy in India


Life expectancy in India, according to a World Health Organization study in 2021, shows that overall life expectancy in India currently is at 70-80 years and, to be precise, 69.66 years. Although a healthy lifestyle leads to a high age, the average expectancy is 60.3 years, hence a common trend in other countries. Regardless there has been an increase in life expectancy across the globe. The results nonetheless report that life expectancy at birth is allegedly affected by population health and socioeconomic development (mean years of schooling and gross national income per capita) and health factors in the country. In simpler terms, when the population health and socioeconomic development get better, the infant mortality rate decreases. Moreover, the relationship between socioeconomic conditions and a higher life expectancy is a prerequisite. Hence, the dependent variable is life expectancy at birth and the socioeconomic background of the family.

Looking at the population regarding Clark Decs (2011), demographic transformations are the main strategies which the reality of Indian modernity plays themselves out. And a lot hence has been said about the point of population or caste statistics being partial, and quite often an exercise that determined what the French philosopher Michel Foucault terms as technologies of domination. Researchers such as Benard Cohn make references to how the British administration conducted censuses to find out the population of the natives of South Asia; which was then emulated by Indians with the hope to find out information on race, religion, population by claiming new titles and identities for themselves (Clark-Decs, 2011). The Indians, by conducting the census, hoped to find out the quantitative survey of population data and hence find out the mortality rate, in addition to data from hospitals. Moreover, according to Guilmoto from France, Indians ought not to treat data collection processes as instruments for expanding power over a people and seeing it as a positive move. Rather, he rebukes Indian massive datasets that consisted of weird caste and tribe nomenclatures and the census villages, unpredictable age distribution which was not even accurate, elastic administrative units among others. Apart from the study of what most commonly termed scheduled tribes, aborigine, Adivasis, animists, or backward Hindus, anthropology doesnt pay much attention to all these terms of Indian communities before independence and on the contrary, seek to justify why they should be credited for development.

Moreover, conducting a census helps the government to know the current socioeconomic status of the people. Additionally, Guilmoto (Clark-Decs, 2011) suggests that Indias fast-changing demographic composition is the leading causative agent to fertility declines and hence a habit towards smaller families. Increased longevity, gender discrimination, and over-demographic masculinity resurrect the social fabric. The general outlook on a countrys population is used to determine that countrys life expectancy, and this information is heavily dependent on census and social surveys. Through the census, the jobless people in the society also get something to keep them busy, and in the process, they visit wealthy people or higher caste and acquire some trend or borrow something that can help in their future lives. Such as particular farming or activity and, in return, reduce mortality risks (Wiser, 1989).

Consequently, the book gives a general outlook on classical anthropology studies in India, suggesting that the caste system is best represented as a closed-form of an ascription-based system of identification. Despite the knowledge about mobility in India, anthropologists identified subjects defying the system (Clark-Decs, 2011). Considering the ridiculous factious beliefs they held about bad people being forced to denounce their family members or cut off attachments with people, take breaks off family vibes, give up property, and face out identification. Considering the population and socioeconomic status affect the life expectancy, as stated earlier, Robert Deliege reviews this original piece. He reflects on changes that speed up the dissociation of population and socioeconomic status in present-day china as well as its anthropology (Clark-Decs, 2011). The modern world seeks to establish equality and democracy amongst people of the same mother nation and even outsiders for social staus. This is through eradication of population ranking, relationships competition for reservations in educational and employment arenas, and hence affirmative action.

Moreover, regardless of the demographic growth, there are still complaints of difficulty getting jobs or working under oppressive conditions for those lucky enough to get jobs in contemporary India. This demographic growth has also led to panic and depression; hence stress among educated youths reduced socioeconomic standards. Additionally, during this limbo wait to get a job, research has confirmed that youths get creative and thus engage in cultures of time-passing and antistatic politics, which have not been seen in a while.

However, from the compiled knowledge of the researchers in A Companion to Anthropology in India, all determinant factors of life expectancy, i.e., population, socioeconomic status, and health factors, were derivatives to increased life expectancy in China. This is because a disease like HIV is prevalent in third-world countries, and China, a low-income country, is faced with this challenge and, hence, a significant death cause. Previously, before ARVs, pre-exposure and post-exposure drugs were invented, the life expectancy of more than 40^ was predictable not to be past 35-45 years depending on the age or period of contraction (Clark-Decs, 2011). Hence with the improved health status of infected patients, their life expectancy goes up. Another factor is education, and the number of educated people in liberal India has gone up effectively and hence increased socioeconomic percentage amongst the population.

Additionally, the total fertility rate has gone up, especially in youths and midlife adult women hence better chances. Therefore, it is safe to say, policies on the health of the people of India should identify direct and indirect pathways to increase life expectancy. Hence improve reproductive decisions or support reproductive affirmatives, increase education of the natives, control HIV or other chronic diseases transmission, and attend special needs to the health sector generally. This result came from a practical example conducted in Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram district on participants above 40 years. At this age, men and women in the contemporary world are expected to live another 30+ years from high-income households with good housing conditions, wealthy, and educated were found to live longer compared to their counterparts from deprived families.

Moreover, habits such as alcoholism or smoking tobacco and other drugs have reduced life expectancy. Thus, abandoning these practices could hyper the expected period of life for folks in China. Hence improved socioeconomic status improves the life expectancy of the individual in India. This rise is also associated with improved sanitation, housing conditions, and education among older members of society.

Nonetheless, socioeconomic and demographic factors have affected life expectancy primarily within communities, regions, individuals, or countries at large. Developed countries, however, provide evidence on social inequalities in health, and therefore reports from India examine caste association with health outcomes, considering it is a marker of socioeconomic status. Regardless, reports from Indias local news found that the upper caste group was more likely to use health facilities and be in the know than the lower. The database elaborates this on immunization, maternal care, medical treatments, and general health status. While the lower caste is so spiritual and uneducated with poor living standards and barely living from hand to mouth, they do not have the wits to seek all these medical care unless they are free natal and health check-ups (Clark-Decs, 2011). Based on Mumbai cancer registry data, Kurkure and Yeole areas reported cancer survival versus mortality results from occupation and education levels. Hence, to reduce this gap, the less privileged should be educated on the importance of health assistance compared to cultural practices and beliefs.


Indias life expectancy has recently gone up until the eruption of COVID-19 in early 2021, which consumed a lot of lives, especially the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions. Socioeconomic and demographic factors are the main reason for the rise of life expectancy rate to 69 years. It was established that those from a high caste are likely to live longer than those from a lower caste due to education, wealth, and other factors. However, the government seeks to conduct a census to identify which areas need support and education to increase the life expectancy of natives and reduce child-birth mortality. Moreover, Clerk Deces, in her review, suggested the importance of socioeconomic and demographic factors in improving life expectancy in the third world and developing countries such as India. Moreover, she shows why data on these vulnerable could not be collected previously because of the racist and decentralized means of data collection used in census villages.


Clark-Decs, I. (Ed.). (2011).A Companion to the Anthropology of India. John Wiley & Sons.