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Labour force participation among the elderly in India: what does the latest data show?

Paramita Roy (Department of Statistics, Gauhati University, Guwahati, India)
Anshuman Barua (Department of Economics, Gauhati University, Guwahati, India)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Article publication date: 4 January 2023

Issue publication date: 17 March 2023




The purpose of this paper is to analyse the labour force participation among the elderly population (aged 60 and above) in India from data available for the most recent time periods. The paper reviews the types of employment, industries and occupations that the elderly in India are employed in presently and also examines the impact of different factors on the decision of the elderly to be a part of the labour force.


Unit-level data has been extracted from the most recent data available on employment and labour force in India provided by the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), from 2017 to 2018 to 2019–2020. Binary logistic regression model has been used to identify some of the socio-economic and demographic factors that influence the odds of the elderly being a part of the labour force along with the extent of their influence, and Wald statistic has been used to examine the dynamics.


The study finds that among the elderly population, males, individuals living in rural areas, those living alone, those who are currently married and those with low educational attainment are more likely to be a part of the labour force. Again, elderly females are found to be employed mostly in the informal or unorganised sector which provide minimal or nil social security benefits. Between 2017–2018 and 2019–2020, the coefficients for sector, gender, marital status, education and income are found to be significantly different.


This paper attempts to shed some light on the scanty literature with regards to studies on the elderly in India, and also to reveal the possible factors which induce the elderly in India to participate in the labour force with the help of the most recent data available.

Peer review

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Roy, P. and Barua, A. (2023), "Labour force participation among the elderly in India: what does the latest data show?", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 50 No. 4, pp. 592-605.



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