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Estimation of Demographic Measures for India, 1881-1961, Based on Census Age Distributions

Prithwis Das Gupta
Population Studies
Vol. 25, No. 3 (Nov., 1971), pp. 395-414
DOI: 10.2307/2173075
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2173075
Page Count: 20
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Estimation of Demographic Measures for India, 1881-1961, Based on Census Age Distributions
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Abstract

The registration of births and deaths in India, even at present, is too inadequate to be of much help in estimating fertility and mortality conditions in the country. From time to time, Indian census actuaries have constructed life tables indirectly by comparing one census age distribution with the preceding one. Because of inaccurate age reporting in Indian censuses, it was essential for those who constructed life tables to smooth the age distributions. The results obtained depended to a large extent on the method chosen for smoothing. This paper is an attempt to estimate some demographic measures for the nine census years between 1881 and 1961 by applying uniform computational methods to the data of all years. The measures, by sex, include an abridged life table, the growth rate, birth rate and death rate, and--as a by-product of, rather than a prerequisite for, obtaining other measures--the smoothed age distribution. The basic assumption underlying this paper is that, for all practical purposes, the Indian population can be considered as stable or quasi-stable for a period of 100 years in the immediate past.

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