Social Status of Elderly in Modern India

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  • Title: Social Status of Elderly in Modern India
  • Author(s): Bishnupriya Dasgupta, Sreejata Mitra
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Interdisciplinary Social Sciences
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies
  • Keywords: Social and Community Studies, Social Attitude, Elderly Status
  • Volume: 7
  • Issue: 3
  • Year: 2013
  • ISSN: 2324-7576 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2324-7584 (Online)
  • DOI:
  • Citation: Dasgupta, Bishnupriya, and Sreejata Mitra. 2013. "Social Status of Elderly in Modern India." The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies 7 (3): 129-140. doi:10.18848/2324-7576/CGP/v07i03/53489.
  • Extent: 12 pages


The status of elderly in any society very much depends upon how the public views them and are disposed towards them. By public we mean men and women of all age groups from rural and urban localities. Studies suggest that urbanization, industrialization and education influence social attitudes towards the elderly (Chang 1984; Tobin 1987; Haris & Fielder 1987; Kimmel, 1988). In an Indian context, the status of the elderly may primarily depend upon the evaluative perceptions of their family members and secondly on others (Ramamurti &Yamuna, 1984; Yamuna et al. 1986; Reddy, 1990). Thus the contemporary social status of older individuals depends on how people think and perceive the elderly. Indian culture and tradition has always honored the elderly and given them a respectable place in society. Sociologists and psychologists believe that the position the elderly enjoyed was due to the joint family system and the common landholdings by the family. But the breakdown of the joint family system due to urbanization, migration and partition of common holdings has depleted the economic power and taken away the respect that the elderly enjoyed; accrued to them by virtue of landholdings and joint family. India is passing through the process of urbanization, modernization and migration. The joint families in the rural areas are fast disappearing. Hence, it would be natural to expect that as a result of these changes the status of the elderly would have gone down. What does the public think about the status of the elderly now? Data from rural and urban areas have shown that 80 percent of the respondents believed that compared to the past there has been a reduction in the status of the elderly at present. Older people more than younger people believed this to be so.