With a population of 1.4 billion, India is the most populous democracy in the world. Around 60% of Indians live in rural areas; and 30 million people live in New Delhi, the capital of this diverse country.
Urban India is home to the largest number of children in the world, and 50% of the population is younger than 25 years old.
There are more than 2,000 different ethnic groups, and more than 400 native languages within the country.
This diversity has caused tensions among the different populations, but also creates an eclectic mix of traditions, food, cultural norms and habits.
SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in India since 1962.
One fourth of the world’s undernourished people live in India. Due to economic issues, they struggle to provide enough nutritious food for their children.
And thus, in India, 20 million children suffer from wasting (low weight for height) and 40 million children suffer from stunting (low height for age). A balanced nutrition could help prevent malnutrition. The Indian government already offers multiple programmes but these efforts are not yet enough to eradicate malnutrition in the country.
India ranks 140th out of 156 in the World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Index.
The situation is improving, however, gender inequality can be seen in many areas of social and economic life. For example, women do not have equal access to education, employment and political life. They have poorer health and more likely to face violence than men.
Furthermore, for every 1000 boys born in India, only 929 girls are born.
Around 21% of the population in India lives on less than $1.9 a day. For children specifically, 30 million live in poverty.
Although India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, this also entails a rapid growing inequality between different population groups. The top 10% of the Indian population holds 77% of the national wealth.
Poverty levels also vary between different regions and between urban and rural areas. Although the situation has improved in past decades, the government continues to fight against poverty.