Life expectancy at birth in India has risen marginally to 69 years during 2013-17 from 68.7 during 2012-16, according to the latest survey. Life expectancy at birth is defined as how long, on average, a newborn can expect to live, if current death rates do not change.
In fact, life expectancy at birth for the country has undergone a significant change from 49.7 in 1970-75 to 69 in the latest survey, registering an increase of 19.3 years in the last four decades, according to the latest Sample Registration Survey.
Life expectancy of males rose by around five months during this period, while that of females increased by just two and a half months.
In 1970-75, the life expectancy at birth for male (50.5) was more than female (49). But the trend has been reversed since the 1981-85. In 2013-17, the female life expectancy (70.4) is higher than male life expectancy (67.8) by about three years.
The gap between rural and urban life expectancy has also narrowed down significantly during the same period.
In 1970-75, life expectancy stood at 48 years in 1970-75, while in urban areas it was higher by over 10 years at 58.9 years.
The gap was reduced to less than five years in the period under review in the latest survey. Now, it stood at 67.7 years in the rural areas, and 72.4 in the urban areas.
There are notable variations at the state level with Kerala in 1970-75 recording the highest life expectancy at birth of 62.0 years and Uttar Pradesh, the lowest, 43.0 years. In 2013-17, Kerala with 75.2 years retained its position and Uttar Pradesh with 65.0 years, had the lowest life expectancy at birth.
While Kerala had the highest life expectancy rate in case of females at 77.8 years in the latest survey, this was not the case when it comes to males. The national capital of Delhi had the highest life expectancy in males at 73.3 years, followed by Kerala at 72.5 during 2013-17.