Leading Causes Of Death Among Youth In India

Suicide, triggered by intense competitive pressures and failure to live up to expectations is the leading cause of death among India's youth.
Suicide, triggered by intense competitive pressures and failure to live up to expectations is the leading cause of death among India's youth.

India is a densely populated country and had the largest population of youth globally estimated 356 million (10-24) in 2014. The presence of many youths in the country translates to a potentially significant workforce for its economy. Although the economy of India has been rapidly growing, job creation is lagging behind and is leaving plenty of India’s youth out of the job market. A large number of India’s youth also lack the required skills to perform efficiently job-related duties, a situation which can be attributed to the education system which stresses more on books than on skills training. India is a cultural nation that prides itself on traditions and values. The Youth of India is becoming increasingly torn between western influence in the era of globalization and traditional cultural values. Rapid urbanization in India’s cities is blurring the lines between western and home values. Youth living in slums and rural areas have little access to medical care, and poor living conditions put them at a high medical risk. India’s youth (15-24) also have a high mortality rate, which in 2013 was attributed to the following presented causes:

Leading Causes Of Death Among The Youth Of India


Self-harm by India’s youth led to 59,366 deaths. With a rapidly growing economy, India’s youth have found themselves under more pressure to succeed economically and academically. Technology has allowed India’s youth to have access to technological gadgets which have consequently diminished the supportive role of the family. Traditionally, India’s families were huge, but urbanization has caused the breakdown of the family into smaller units. It is not rare to find India’s contemporary families with one or two children. India’s youth often find themselves under pressure to pass exams in an educational sector that does not encourage the growth of other talents and abilities. When the youth fail to fulfill the expectation set, they are more likely to resort to extreme self-harm measures such as suicide. Mental health is not recognized as a medical issue, and this causes the youth in India to be embarrassed about seeking help for problems such as depression. Young women are more likely to commit suicide than their male counterparts, a situation attributed to women being subject to gender bias in India’s communities.

Road Injuries

Road injuries are a leading cause of death in India that claimed 37,137 youth. India has embarked on efforts to expand its highways and roads in the recent years and a subsequent increase in the number of vehicles used. Road safety policies and enforcement, however, lag behind the improved infrastructure. Male youths are more likely to be involved in road accidents than their female counterparts, a situation which has been attributed to increasing rates of their drug and alcohol use. Over speeding and recklessness are also contributing factors to deaths through road accidents. Male youths who operate two-wheelers are also at a higher risk to be involved in traffic accidents due to little or no safety measures.


Tuberculosis claimed 28,676 lives of youths in 2013 to become the third leading cause of death among the young generation. India has one of the highest Tuberculosis rates in Asia, and the youth has been unfortunate victims of the disease. Prevalence of Tuberculosis is mainly evident in the rural areas, where there is limited access to healthcare. Sexual activities among the youth have enabled the spread of HIV/AIDS which makes them susceptible to contract Tuberculosis. Unemployed young people living in poor conditions in the slums are more likely to die of Tuberculosis than their affluent counterparts.

Fire, Heat, and Hot substances

Fire, heat, and hot substances led to the death of 25,125 youth in India in 2013. Parts of India are subjected to periods of dry and hot weather. These hot spells are dangerous because blowing strong winds spread out the fire which leads to casualties and even death. Youth working in open places such as construction sites are at a higher risk to die from heat waves. Notably, some communities in India practice bride burning, which is a crime and leads to the death of nearly 8000 women every year. The practice, also known as dowry death, is when a woman is killed, often by setting her ablaze, by her in-laws who feel that the dowry given to them by the bride’s family is not sufficient.

Other Causes Of Death Among India's Youth

Other medical conditions that claimed the lives of India’s youth in 2013 are Intestinal Infectious Diseases (18,883), Ischemic Heart Disease (15,218), Diarrhoeal Disease (12,982), and Lower Respiratory Infections (11,848). Drowning led to the death of 13,849 youth in the country. India loses its youth daily to factors that can be prevented. Despite being the largest age group in India, challenges faced by young people in India are yet to be satisfactorily addressed.

Leading Causes Of Death Among The Youth Of India

RankCauseNumber of Deaths In India, 2013
(Age group 15-24)
2Road Injuries37,137
4Fire, Heat, and Hot Substances25,125
5Intestinal Infectious Diseases18,883
6Ischemic Heart Disease15,218
8Diarrhoeal Disease12,982
9Lower Respiratory Infections11,848

More in Society