The 25th round of population projections by the United Nations has delayed its earlier estimates by two years when India’s population is likely to surpass China’s. According to the “World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision” released by the Population Division of the United Nations’ Department of Economic and Social Affairs, India is likely to surpass China’s population in 2024 while in its 24th round projections, released in 2015, the UN had estimated 2022 to be the year when India’s population could surpass China’s. In its 2013 estimates, the UN had projected India’s population to overtake China’s in 2028.
According to the report, China with 1.41 billion and India with 1.34 billion people, accounting for 19 per cent and 18 per cent of the global population, remain two most populous countries and adds that in “in roughly seven years, or around 2024, the population of India is expected to surpass that of China.” Nigeria, that is growing most rapidly among the ten largest countries and is currently the world’s seventh largest, will surpass the US to become the world’s third most populous country in the world shortly before 2050.
Also, while China, that is geographically three times larger than us with an economy of $11 trillion that is five times of India’s $2.1 trillion, is slowing down, India’s population is expected to be the fastest growing among the countries which will account for half of the world’s population growth between 2017 to 2015. The countries in decreasing order of their expected contribution to the global population growth are India, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, Ethiopia, the United Republic of Tanzania, the United States of America, Uganda and Indonesia.
The world’s total population is projected to reach 8.6 billion in 2030, 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100 from its current 7.6 billion. The report says “83 million people are added to the world’s population every year and the upward trend in population size is expected to continue, even assuming that fertility levels will continue to decline.”
The report says in 2014 both countries will have roughly 1.44 billion people. While India’s population will continue to grow for decades after it, touching 1.5 billion in 2030 and 1.66 billion in 2050, China’s population is expected to register a slow decline after remaining stable till 2030s.
In May this year, a Chinese experts claimed that India’s population had already surpassed China’s. Yi Fuxiang, a US based Chinese scientist, came out with his numbers arguing that China’s real population was 1.29 billion in 2016 and not 1.38 billion as estimated by China and India had surpassed China with 1.33 billion people quoting the UN figures. He had arrived at his findings after factoring in information and data on family planning policies, birth rate and hospital and school statistics. Though widely reported, his claims were met with scepticism and the UN report now makes it clear that China’s still more populous than us, even if only for seven more years.