“India will overtake China as the world’s most populous nation by 2022, says a new UN report which revises its previous estimates, which put the date around 2028”
In 2015, India had 1.311 billion people, against China’s 1.376 billion, a difference of 65 million, according to the UN. India was estimated to reach 1.35 billion by 2020, compared to China’s 1.43 billion. India was supposed to reach 1.454 billion, against 1.453 billion in China, by 2028. India’s population catch up was first forecast to happen in 2050, then in 2040 and later by 2030. But the UN’s numbers have changed. China’s population growth rate is slowing faster than India’s, which will top the world’s list by 2022. The two giants now have 19% and 18% of the world’s population, respectively, according to a UN report unveiled July 29th. Five Asian countries (China, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Pakistan) are among the 10 largest in the world. Two are Latin American: Brazil and Mexico, one African (Nigeria), one North American (USA), and one European (Russia). There are now 7.3 billion human beings, there will be 8.5 billion by 2030, 9.7 billion by 2050 and 11.2 billion by 2100. Between 2015 and 2050, half the growth will happen in 9 countries: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, USA, Indonesia and Uganda. China’s fertility rates have dropped much lower than those of India. The fertility rate in China was 1.55 in 2010-2015, while India’s was 2.48. India had seen an appreciable decline, but the slowdown was faster in China. It’s growth in recent years was basically “population momentum”, which will also contribute to the growth in India in coming decades. But the UN’s revised estimates are just projections, which may or may not happen. India’s population will overtake China’s, but the exact year could vary. The real lesson behind the divergence between both countries lies in China’s better social progress indicators. This is seen in the population in India’s wealthier Southern states, which is stabilising. In the Northern states, however, high fertility rates boost India’s overall numbers.