Widowhood In India

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Information about Widowhood In India

Published on March 23, 2008

Author: guestb82083

Source: slideshare.net

Widowhood in India: A Demographic Analysis Annie George, Research Scholar Dept: of Demography University of Kerala 2008-03-23

Introduction Widows are socially disadvantaged sections in any society. Faces several social, economic, emotional and cultural deprivations. A serious lack of public concern and adequate information available. Research studies are also scanty.

Widows are socially disadvantaged sections in any society.

Faces several social, economic, emotional and cultural deprivations.

A serious lack of public concern and adequate information available.

Research studies are also scanty.

Introduction ( Continued ) Very little substantive as well as technical work on widowhood, divorce and remarriages has been done so far. In India, where, remarriages and the socio economic status of widows are low, a clear understanding of the trend over time and the current situation of widows in various parts of the country is required.

Very little substantive as well as technical work on widowhood, divorce and remarriages has been done so far.

In India, where, remarriages and the socio economic status of widows are low, a clear understanding of the trend over time and the current situation of widows in various parts of the country is required.

Objectives To investigate the patterns of widowhood using Census record. Uses a new methodology : “ Age Specific Widowhood Progression Ratio” (ASWPR) to study the widowhood progression at different age groups by states.

To investigate the patterns of widowhood using Census record.

Uses a new methodology : “ Age Specific Widowhood Progression Ratio” (ASWPR) to study the widowhood progression at different age groups by states.

Data & Methodology Sources: Various publications from the census of India. Socio - cultural tables from census records.

Sources: Various publications from the census of India.

Socio - cultural tables from census records.

Table 1 : Trends in WidowHood 6.8 (36632) 2.0 (10717) 2001 6.5 (27631) 2.1 (9126) 1991 8.5 (27279) 2.7 (9143) 1981 9.2 (24439) 3.2 (9041) 1971 11.3 (24111) 4.1 (9223) 1961 12.8 (22471) 5.1 (9462) 1951 15.1 (26509) 5.7 (9330) 1941 15.5 (23977) 5.4 (7718) 1931 17.5 (23726) 6.4 (8227) 1921 17.3 (21402) 5.4 (6933) 1911 18.0 (21125) 5.4 (6523) 1901 Females Males Year % distribution of Widowed Persons by Sex in India 1901-2001

Description of Table 1 : Both Widowhood & widower is showing a gradual decline over the past 100 years, declined to half of the % value accounted at the beginning of the century. The % of widowed female remained stable around 18 % up to 1921 and gradually declined to 15% in 1941. Later it showed a steep decline till 1991(12.8 in 1951 to 6.4 in 1991) But a slight upward trend was noticed during 1991-2001. In the case of males, a similar decline in the proportion of widower was observed from 5.4 % in 1901 to 2.0 % in 2001. Reason for high figures at the start of the century : Universal early marriages in Indian society, Prevailing high death rates and Social ban on remarriages Reason for a marked decline in widowhood in the recent decades : Decline in adult male mortality and increase in the female age at marriage.

Both Widowhood & widower is showing a gradual decline over the past 100 years, declined to half of the % value accounted at the beginning of the century.

The % of widowed female remained stable around 18 % up to 1921 and gradually declined to 15% in 1941. Later it showed a steep decline till 1991(12.8 in 1951 to 6.4 in 1991)

But a slight upward trend was noticed during 1991-2001.

In the case of males, a similar decline in the proportion of widower was observed from 5.4 % in 1901 to 2.0 % in 2001.

Reason for high figures at the start of the century :

Universal early marriages in Indian society, Prevailing high death rates and Social ban on remarriages

Reason for a marked decline in widowhood in the recent decades :

Decline in adult male mortality and increase in the female age at marriage.

Table 2 : % of widowed and widower by residence status, 1961-2001 1.39 1.31 1.56 1.97 2.76 Urban   2.00 2.16 2.71 3.19 3.90 Rural   1.82 1.94 2.43 2.94 3.69 Total               Widower 6.89 6.08 7.46 8.15 9.90 Urban   6.91 6.64 8.23 9.03 11.01 Rural   6.90 6.50 8.06 8.86 10.82 Total   2001 1991 1981 1971 1961   Widowed

Description of Table 2 : The % of widows was 10.8 in 1961 and declined to 6.9 in 2001 & the % of widower also declined from 3.6 to 1.8 in 2001, indicating a decline of 36 % for widows and 50 % for widower. No significant rural/urban differential except rural being slightly higher than the urban.

The % of widows was 10.8 in 1961 and declined to 6.9 in 2001 & the % of widower also declined from 3.6 to 1.8 in 2001, indicating a decline of 36 % for widows and 50 % for widower.

No significant rural/urban differential except rural being slightly higher than the urban.

Table 3 : % distribution of widows to all women by age group : 1961-2001 27.60 25.93 22.95 19.14 16.29 64.87 67.20 77.55 80.32 84.39 70+ 13.55 11.68 10.67 9.25 7.42 44.97 48.09 58.55 64.56 71.85 65-69 16.25 18.72 19.00 18.37 16.72 40.00 45.24 56.05 62.38 69.62 60-64 9.01 9.55 9.73 10.48 9.93 21.95 23.76 31.79 41.29 50.24 55-59 9.85 11.89 13.32 14.71 15.76 20.18 21.92 29.71 36.59 45.47 50-54 7.43 7.31 8.53 9.19 10.42 11.31 11.15 15.96 20.65 28.84 45-49 5.82 5.80 6.78 8.12 9.67 7.71 7.70 10.86 14.38 20.66 40-44 4.48 3.73 3.97 4.71 5.74 4.45 3.93 5.42 7.03 11.15 35-39 2.79 2.52 2.51 3.12 4.15 2.59 2.32 3.12 4.09 6.42 30-34 1.67 1.53 1.44 1.70 2.27 1.37 1.15 1.50 1.94 2.89 25-29 0.86 0.83 0.76 0.81 1.08 0.68 0.58 0.69 0.88 1.30 20-24 0.28 0.25 0.24 0.32 0.40 0.20 0.17 0.21 0.33 0.53 15-19 0.23 0.11 0.05 0.07 0.13 0.13 0.06 0.03 0.05 0.13 10-14 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 6.91 6.49 8.06 8.87 10.82 All Ages 2001 1991 1981 1971 1961 2001 1991 1981 1971 1961   % of Widows to Total Widowed Women % of Widows to Total Ever Married Women Age Group

Description of Table 3 : The age specific widow rates consistently declined during 1961-1991. The ASWR declined to more than 50 % in the reproductive age groups. But a slightly upward trend was observed during 2001 in the reproductive age group but a reverse trend was noticed in the older age group. The pattern of age specific widow-rates had increased with age in all the 5 points of time and exhibited a steep increase particularly after age 40. The % distribution of widows to total number of widows during 1961 -2001 revealed that, in 1961 census around 34 % of widows were in the reproductive age group and about 40 % in the age group 60+ years. The corresponding figure of widows in 2001 was 23 and 60 % respectively, owing partly to the comparatively higher expectation of life among the older females and partly to taboos against remarriage, particularly of females.

The age specific widow rates consistently declined during 1961-1991.

The ASWR declined to more than 50 % in the reproductive age groups.

But a slightly upward trend was observed during 2001 in the reproductive age group but a reverse trend was noticed in the older age group.

The pattern of age specific widow-rates had increased with age in all the 5 points of time and exhibited a steep increase particularly after age 40.

The % distribution of widows to total number of widows during 1961 -2001 revealed that, in 1961 census around 34 % of widows were in the reproductive age group and about 40 % in the age group 60+ years. The corresponding figure of widows in 2001 was 23 and 60 % respectively, owing partly to the comparatively higher expectation of life among the older females and partly to taboos against remarriage, particularly of females.

Table 4 : Percentage Distribution of Widows, India and Major States, 1961-2001 8.2 7.81 9.20 9.80 12.36 1.1 1.18 1.42 2.17 2.67 West Bengal 4.8 4.56 6.43 7.58 9.54 2.6 3.00 3.78 4.69 5.42 Uttar Pradesh 9.6 8.77 10.11 10.94 12.78 2.0 2.04 2.30 2.56 3.15 Tamilnadu 5.9 5.79 7.12 7.80 9.52 1.9 2.10 2.56 3.11 3.98 Rajasthan 5.8 4.62 5.42 5.54 7.16 2.1 2.16 2.82 3.31 4.67 Punjab 7. 6 7.36 9.01 9.05 12.03 1.8 2.05 2.30 2.29 2.86 Orissa 8.0 7.41 8.73 9.30 11.49 1.4 1.43 1.77 2.14 3.13 Maharashtra 6.1 6.20 7.76 8.81 11.01 2.1 2.23 2.68 3.21 3.92 Madhya Pradesh 10.3 8.76 9.13 8.99 10.04 1.2 .96 1.16 1.19 1.71 Kerala 9.0 8.27 9.59 10.35 12.36 1.3 1.43 1.82 2.27 3.16 Karnataka 5.5 4.37 5.00 5.33 NA 1.9 1.90 2.62 3.24 NA Haryana 6.6 5.95 6.99 7.71 9.27 1.9 1.72 2.00 2.34 3.11 Gujarat 4.7 4.83 7.30 8.65 10.91 2.0 2.03 2.66 3.22 3.94 Bihar 8.7 8.38 10.22 22.66 13.64 1.5 1.55 2.17 2.70 3.41 Andhra Pradesh 6.9 6.50 8.06 8.86 10.82 1.8 1.93 2.43 2.94 3.69 India 2001 1991 1981 1971 1961 2001 1991 1981 1971 1961   Females(Widowed) Males (Widower) States

Description of Table 4 : Observes a general decline in widowhood during 1961-1991. Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra ,  TamilNadu and West Bengal  have higher % of the widowed than the national average. This trend is noted in all the five points of time across the 6 states. But the study observed a slight increase in the widowhood rate in India and all its major states during 2001. This can be attributed to the improvement in female life expectancy.

Observes a general decline in widowhood during 1961-1991.

Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra ,  TamilNadu and West Bengal  have higher % of the widowed than the national average.

This trend is noted in all the five points of time across the 6 states. But the study observed a slight increase in the widowhood rate in India and all its major states during 2001. This can be attributed to the improvement in female life expectancy.

Description of Table 4 : (Continued ) The rate of widowhood is significantly; higher among southern states compared to northern states in India ( may be due to less error in marital reporting in southern states as compared to northern states ). It is quite interesting that states like UP and Rajasthan which are known to have high mortality showed a lower proportion of widowhood among females, while states like Kerala, Karnataka and Tamilnadu which have low mortality showed the reverse i.e.; the low mortality states showed a higher proportion of widows. The possible explanations for this trend may be attributed to higher widow remarriages in these states as compared to Kerala, Karnataka and Tamilnadu or the age difference in husband and wife is higher in southern states or the gender gap in mortality in adult and old age is significantly wide in southern states or mortality of widows is lower in the southern states.

The rate of widowhood is significantly; higher among southern states compared to northern states in India ( may be due to less error in marital reporting in southern states as compared to northern states ).

It is quite interesting that states like UP and Rajasthan which are known to have high mortality showed a lower proportion of widowhood among females, while states like Kerala, Karnataka and Tamilnadu which have low mortality showed the reverse i.e.; the low mortality states showed a higher proportion of widows.

The possible explanations for this trend may be attributed to higher widow remarriages in these states as compared to Kerala, Karnataka and Tamilnadu or the age difference in husband and wife is higher in southern states or the gender gap in mortality in adult and old age is significantly wide in southern states or mortality of widows is lower in the southern states.

Table 5 : Mean Age at Widowhood and Widower hood by Various Ages and by Residential Status, India, 2001 45.45 38.67 35.32 28.39 Urban 44.81 38.10 34.84 28.06 Rural 44.95 38.22 34.94 28.13 Total         Widower hood 46.27 39.72 36.10 28.40 Urban 45.97 39.17 35.60 28.17 Rural 46.06 39.33 35.74 28.24 Total         Widowhood 60 50 45 35 Mean age at Widowhood /Widower hood Residential Status

Description of Table 5: Table shows the mean age at widowhood and widower hood by age 35, 45, 50 and 60 years. The mean age at widowhood for those widowed by age 45 is 35.7 years and the similar figure for widower is 34.9 This phenomenon gains important because early widowhood is one factor which tends to reduce the length of fertile union. The estimates for urban widowhood/widower are higher than their rural counterparts indicating a better adult mortality situation in the urban areas.

Table shows the mean age at widowhood and widower hood by age 35, 45, 50 and 60 years. The mean age at widowhood for those widowed by age 45 is 35.7 years and the similar figure for widower is 34.9

This phenomenon gains important because early widowhood is one factor which tends to reduce the length of fertile union. The estimates for urban widowhood/widower are higher than their rural counterparts indicating a better adult mortality situation in the urban areas.

Table 6 : Age Specific Progression to Widowhood 0.66 0.72 0.71 0.57 0.50 0.31 0.24 0.14 0.09 0.05 0.03 0.01 0.01 0.00 0.00 West Bengal 0.61 0.46 0.55 0.34 0.33 0.14 0.16 0.08 0.06 0.03 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.00 0.00 Uttar Pradesh 0.71 0.67 0.66 0.51 0.47 0.29 0.24 0.15 0.10 0.06 0.04 0.02 0.01 0.00 0.00 Tamilnadu 0.77 0.58 0.63 0.42 0.37 0.18 0.17 0.09 0.06 0.04 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.00 0.00 Rajasthan 0.67 0.44 0.50 0.32 0.25 0.14 0.14 0.08 0.06 0.04 0.02 0.01 0.00 0.00 0.00 Punjab 0.73 0.64 0.67 0.47 0.43 0.22 0.20 0.12 0.08 0.05 0.03 0.01 0.01 0.00 0.00 Orissa 0.76 0.67 0.66 0.47 0.35 0.22 0.19 0.12 0.08 0.05 0.03 0.02 0.01 0.00 0.00 Maharashtra 0.73 0.57 0.63 0.43 0.38 0.18 0.18 0.09 0.07 0.04 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.00 0.00 Madhya Pradesh 0.83 0.74 0.66 0.54 0.42 0.28 0.20 0.12 0.07 0.04 0.02 0.01 0.00 0.00 0.00 Kerala 0.77 0.68 0.69 0.52 0.48 0.28 0.26 0.15 0.11 0.06 0.04 0.02 0.01 0.00 0.00 Karnataka 0.69 0.48 0.51 0.34 0.25 0.18 0.16 0.10 0.07 0.04 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.00 0.00 Haryana 0.76 0.62 0.64 0.45 0.38 0.21 0.18 0.11 0.06 0.04 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.00 0.00 Gujarat 0.62 0.47 0.57 0.36 0.35 0.14 0.16 0.08 0.06 0.03 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.00 0.00 Bihar 0.75 0.66 0.69 0.50 0.49 0.27 0.27 0.14 0.10 0.06 0.04 0.02 0.01 0.00 0.00 Andhra Pradesh 0.71 0.61 0.63 0.45 0.40 0.22 0.20 0.11 0.08 0.04 0.03 0.01 0.01 0.00 0.00 INDIA 80+ 75-79 70-74 65-69 60-64 55-59 50-54 45-49 40-44 35-39 30-34 25-29 20-24 15-19 10-14 States

Description of Table 6 : The ASWPR is defined as the chances to widowhood from a particular age group to the next higher age group. Its computation is similar to that of parity progression ratio commonly used in fertility analysis. The ASWPR is simply the probability of getting widowhood at each higher age group. The probability of getting widowhood is increased steadily as age increases. The increase was quite steep at higher ages and reached almost 60 % chance to widowhood in the case of 70+ populations .

The ASWPR is defined as the chances to widowhood from a particular age group to the next higher age group. Its computation is similar to that of parity progression ratio commonly used in fertility analysis. The ASWPR is simply the probability of getting widowhood at each higher age group.

The probability of getting widowhood is increased steadily as age increases. The increase was quite steep at higher ages and reached almost 60 % chance to widowhood in the case of 70+ populations .

Description of Table 6: ( continued) State wise analysis shows that southern states have more chance of getting widowhood among the age group 45-59 when compared to northern states. Detailed investigation reveals that low mortality states like Kerala, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka indicate a 5% increase of getting widowhood as the age progress from 40-44 to 45-49 where as high mortality states like UP and Rajasthan point out an increase of only 2% in the same age group. As the shift from 45-49 to 50-54 age group the probability of getting widowed increased to 10 % in southern states where as in Bihar, MP, UP and Rajasthan indicate an increases of 8 % But no significant chance of getting widowhood was noticed as age shifts from 50-54 to 55-59 except in Kerala. The ratio indicating an 8 % decrease in the chance to widowhood as age moves from 70-74 to 75-79 in the northern states indicating the disadvantage in the female life expectancy.

State wise analysis shows that southern states have more chance of getting widowhood among the age group 45-59 when compared to northern states. Detailed investigation reveals that low mortality states like Kerala, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka indicate a 5% increase of getting widowhood as the age progress from 40-44 to 45-49 where as high mortality states like UP and Rajasthan point out an increase of only 2% in the same age group. As the shift from 45-49 to 50-54 age group the probability of getting widowed increased to 10 % in southern states where as in Bihar, MP, UP and Rajasthan indicate an increases of 8 %

But no significant chance of getting widowhood was noticed as age shifts from 50-54 to 55-59 except in Kerala. The ratio indicating an 8 % decrease in the chance to widowhood as age moves from 70-74 to 75-79 in the northern states indicating the disadvantage in the female life expectancy.

Conclusion: Widowhood has been on the decline since the last few decades giving a clear indication of the improvement in the mortality situation. Reasons: Rapid decline in adult male mortality and to some extent the increase in female age at marriage. Regional wise comparison shows that southern states have higher proportion of widowhood when compared to their counterparts. Reasons: Females have high life expectancy at all age groups. High male mortality due to life style diseases like cardio-vascular diseases and unexpected deaths due to accidents etc. General Trend: An Improvement in the widowhood situation if percentages are considered, but, in terms of absolute number it has deteriorated.

Widowhood has been on the decline since the last few decades giving a clear indication of the improvement in the mortality situation.

Reasons: Rapid decline in adult male mortality and to some extent the increase in female age at marriage.

Regional wise comparison shows that southern states have higher proportion of widowhood when compared to their counterparts.

Reasons: Females have high life expectancy at all age groups.

High male mortality due to life style diseases like cardio-vascular diseases and unexpected deaths due to accidents etc.

General Trend: An Improvement in the widowhood situation if percentages are considered, but, in terms of absolute number it has deteriorated.

Policy: Reservation in Jobs. Financial assistance for self employment. Promote remarriages.

Reservation in Jobs.

Financial assistance for self employment.

Promote remarriages.

Thanks for listening. 

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