India to Overtake China as World’s Most Populous Country by End of June: UN Report
As per the latest ‘State of World Population' report by the United Nations, India is poised to surpass China and become the most populous nation in the world by the conclusion of June. By mid-year, India's population will reach 1.4286 billion, surpassing China's 1.4257 billion, marking a significant seismic shift. This has been long predicted, and it is a significant moment for the country as it becomes home to nearly a fifth of humanity, with almost 3 million more people than its neighbor.
As per the government data cited by Reuters, India has witnessed a population growth of 1.2% since 2011, which is lower than the growth rate of 1.7% in the previous decade. Its annual population growth is expected to continue until the 2060s, but it is projected to stabilize ahead of that. Meanwhile, China has recorded its first population decline in 60 years as its birth rate plunged below the death rate.
India's relatively young and growing population presents both opportunities and challenges. Its young and expanding workforce is enviable compared to many developed nations that are rapidly aging. However, India needs about nine million new jobs every year just to keep pace, and the annual shortfall helps relegate many to India's old standby, agricultural work. India must utilize the window of opportunity for the demographic dividend that is currently available, but will not be able to if the pace of investment is slow.
The demographic shift poses major economic and social challenges for both countries as they struggle to adapt. India's population is relatively young and growing, while China's is aging and shrinking. The UNFPA report says that if India's population continues to grow at the current pace, it would double from the present value in the next 75 years. The same applies to the global population, which is currently just over 8 billion.
The United States is a distant third, with an estimated population of 340 million, according to the data by the UNFPA's State of World Population Report, 2023. China's shrinking population has raised concerns about its future economic and social implications. A survey conducted by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has revealed that India's population figures have induced public “anxieties” relating to the economy and healthcare.
Overall, the UNFPA emphasizes that population numbers should not trigger anxiety or create alarm. If individual rights and choices are being upheld, they ought to be regarded as a representation of progress, advancement, and ambitions. India must work at a faster pace and invest in people, especially the young, to ensure that the demographic dividend does not turn into a disaster.
0. “At 142.86 cr, India to be most populous by June-end, will surpass China by 29L” The Tribune India, 20 Apr. 2023, https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/at-142-86-cr-india-to-be-most-populous-by-june-end-will-surpass-china-by-29l-498990
1. “Explained | India set to become world`s most populous nation. What does it mean?” WION, 19 Apr. 2023, https://www.wionews.com/india-news/explained-india-set-to-become-worlds-most-populous-nation-what-does-it-mean-584165
2. “India's population is on the brink of overtaking China's, UN says” CNBC, 19 Apr. 2023, https://www.cnbc.com/2023/04/19/indias-population-is-on-the-brink-of-overtaking-chinas-un-says.html
3. “India to surpass China as world’s most populous country by mid-2023, says UN” Yahoo News, 19 Apr. 2023, https://news.yahoo.com/india-surpass-china-world-most-195150341.html
4. “Will This Be the ‘Indian Century'? Four Key Questions” The New York Times, 19 Apr. 2023, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2023/04/19/world/asia/india-china-population.html
5. “Explainer: What India Passing China to Become World's Most-Populous Nation Means” Bloomberg, 19 Apr. 2023, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-04-19/explainer-what-india-passing-china-to-become-world-s-most-populous-nation-means
6. “Behind India’s population numbers” The Indian Express, 20 Apr. 2023, https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/behind-indias-population-numbers-8565778
7. “India's population to overtake China, with 2.9 mln more people” The Jerusalem Post, 19 Apr. 2023, https://www.jpost.com/international/article-739690
8. “India to surpass China as the most populated country in world, UN figures show” Sky News, 19 Apr. 2023, https://news.sky.com/story/india-to-surpass-china-as-the-most-populated-country-in-world-un-figures-show-12860794