Grey and greyer
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It's almost a cliche to talk about India's possible demographic dividend, when all the young people will enter the labour force, increasing productivity. Or to point out how young a nation it truly is. According to Census 2011, half the country is less than 25 years old, and about 65 per cent is under 35. India's median age is 25 — well below China whose median age is 35. Sheer numbers, then, should make it surprising that India also has a political class that is, on average, a full 40 years older than the average citizen. A new report in The Economist underlines this yawning age gap between India's people and its political leadership.
The report, compiled with data from national governments of 10 nations and the UN, also shows that the gap in the ages of India's people and its politicians is the highest among the nations studied, which includes the other BRIC nations and advanced countries like the US, Japan, Britain and Australia. Germany records the least difference between its politicians and the people they govern; the gap is only eight years. But that has more to do with an older population than with younger politicians. The youngest policymakers are found, surprisingly, in Russia, the only BRIC country not to be a gerontocracy. Its median age is 38 and its politician is a sprightly 47-year-old on average.
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