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UN predicts that India’s population will exceed China’s by mid-year.


India is set to overtake China as the world’s most populous country by the middle of the year with nearly three million more people.

United Nations estimates showed, on Wednesday, that India is set to overtake China to become the world’s most populous country by the end of June, posing enormous challenges for a country with crumbling infrastructure and insufficient jobs for millions of young people.

The seismic shift will see India’s population reach 1.4286 billion — nearly three million more than China’s 1.4257 billion — in the middle of the year, according to the UN Population Fund’s State of World Population report.

China is generally seen as the world’s most populous country since the fall of the Roman Empire, but its population shrank last year for the first time since 1960, while India continued to rise.

The South Asian giant spreads from the Himalayas to the shores of Kerala, with 22 official languages, and nearly half of its population under the age of 25.

The country faces significant challenges in providing electricity, food, and housing for its growing population, with many of its megacities already suffering from water shortages, air and water pollution, and overcrowded slums.

According to the Pew Research Center, the number of people in India has increased by more than 1 billion since 1950, the year the United Nations began collecting population data.

China ended its strict “one-child” policy, which it imposed in the 1980s amid overpopulation fears, in 2016 and began allowing couples to have three children in 2021.

Many blame declining birth rates on the rising cost of living, as well as the growing number of women entering the workforce and seeking higher education.

China said Wednesday that it is “implementing a national strategy to actively respond to population aging, strengthening the three-child policy and supportive measures, and actively responding to changes in population development.”

“China’s demographic gains have not disappeared, talent dividends are taking shape, and the development momentum is still strong,” said Wang Wenbin, a foreign ministry spokesman.

8 billion

India has no recent official population data because it has not conducted a census since 2011, with a follow-up in 2021 delayed due to the COVID pandemic.

Population density in India

Map showing the population density of India.

The initiative has now been bogged down by logistical hurdles, making it unlikely that the massive exercises will begin anytime soon. Some accuse the government of deliberately delaying counting until after the national elections next year.

The census will highlight how the Indian economy under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is struggling to provide jobs for the millions of young people who enter the job market each year.

The new UN report also estimates that the world’s population will reach 8.045 billion by mid-2023, by which time one in five people on the planet will be Indian.

Other countries, mostly in Europe and Asia, can expect a demographic recession in the coming decades, according to other UN figures published last July.

In Africa, the continent’s population is expected to increase from 1.4 to 3.9 billion people by 2100, with about 38 percent of the Earth’s population living there, compared to about 18 percent today.

Meanwhile, the population of the entire planet is only expected to decline in the 1990s, after peaking at 10.4 billion, according to the United Nations.

Sleeping giant

India is on the front lines of the effects of climate change, but it generates most of its electricity from coal and its efforts will be vital in the global fight to reduce carbon emissions.

The nuclear-armed country has begun to become more assertive on the world stage, and has pushed for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

Many Western countries are counting on the world’s largest democracy, already a member of the US-led Quadruple coalition, to become more of a geopolitical heavyweight for China.

But it also co-founded the BRICS grouping with Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa to challenge the dominant global governance structures led by the United States and Europe, and is a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization along with Moscow and Beijing.

New Delhi has resisted Western pressure to freeze Moscow, opting instead to strengthen trade ties with its longtime ally and ramp up imports of Russian oil.

© 2023 AFP

the quote: India Population Surpasses China in Mid-Year: United Nations (2023, April 19) Retrieved April 19, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-04-india-population-surpass-china-mid-year .html

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