By 2023, India number 1 in population, overtaking China

The Asian Age.  | Vineeta Pandey

India, All India

The global population is growing at its slowest rate since 1950, having fallen under one per cent in 2020

Locals at a crowded wholesale market on Avenue Road on 'World Population Day', in Bengaluru, Monday, July 11, 2022. (PTI Photo/Shailendra Bhojak)

New Delhi: India is projected to surpass China as the world’s most populous country during 2023, said a new United Nations report released Monday. India is projected to have a population of 1.668 billion in 2050, way ahead of China’s 1.317 billion people by the middle of the century. In 1990 and 2022, China was ranked top among the world’s ten most populous nations, followed by India.

The report, named “World Population Prospects 2022”, prepared by the department of economic and social affairs of the UN secretariat, was released on World Population Day that falls on July 11. The report added that the global population was growing at its slowest rate since 1950, having fallen under one per cent in 2020. The latest projections by the United Nations suggest that the world’s population could grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030 and 9.7 billion in 2050. It is projected to reach a peak of around 10.4 billion people during the 2080s and to remain at that level until 2100. The world’s population is projected to reach eight billion on November 15, 2022.

The latest United Nations projections suggest that the global population could grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050 and 10.4 billion in 2100. In fact, over half the projected increase in the global population up to 2050 will be concentrated in eight countries -- Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and Tanzania.

“Disparate population growth rates among the world’s largest countries will change their ranking by size -- for example, India is projected to surpass China as the world’s most populous country in 2023,” the report said.

It said that in 2022, the two most populous regions were both in Asia -- East and Southeast Asia, with 2.3 billion people (29 per cent of the global population), and Central and Southern Asia, with 2.1 billion (26 per cent). China and India, with more than 1.4 billion people each, accounted for most of the population in these two regions.

Union health minister Mansukh Mandviya said that a responsible way of family planning done voluntarily helps in the growth and prosperity of a nation. However, a minister in Nagaland belonging to the BJP went a step further, and urged people to “stay single”. He said: “On World Population Day, let us be sensible towards the issues of population growth and inculcate informed choices on child bearing. Or stay single like me, and together we can contribute towards a sustainable future. Come join the singles movement today,” said Temjen Imna Along, the minister of higher education and tribal affairs in Nagaland. He is also the Nagaland BJP state president.

In Bihar, Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav said: “Despite being the most populous country, China is way ahead of India in terms of education and health services, the economy, GDP, employment, development, defence and industrialisation. Shouldn’t it spark a debate? If the rising population is a threat, then why is China doing so well?”

According to the report, population growth is caused in part by declining levels of mortality, and increased levels of life expectancy at birth. Globally, life expectancy reached 72.8 years in 2019, an increase of almost nine years since 1990. Further reductions in mortality are projected to result in an average longevity of around 77.2 years globally by 2050.

The report added that between 2010 and 2021, in 10 countries, the estimated net outflow of migrants exceeded one million. In many of these countries, the outflows were due to temporary labour movements, such as for Pakistan (net flow of -16.5 million), India (-3.5 million), Bangladesh (-2.9 million), Nepal (-1.6 million) and Sri Lanka (-1.0 million). In other nations, including Syria (-4.6 million), Venezuela (-4.8 million) and Myanmar (-1.0 million), insecurity and conflict drove the outflow of migrants over this period.

Life expectancy at birth for women exceeded that for men by 5.4 years globally, with female and male life expectancies standing at 73.8 and 68.4, respectively. In 2021, the average fertility of the world’s population stood at 2.3 births1 per woman over a lifetime, having fallen from about 5 births per woman in 1950. Global fertility is projected to decline further to 2.1 births per woman by 2050. In 2020, the global growth rate fell under one per cent per year for the first time since 1950.