India’s population will reach 1,425,000,000, surpassing China in days | world news

People crowd at a marketplace in Mumbai, India on Monday, April 24, 2023. The United Nations says India will be the world's most populous country by the end of April, dwarfing an aging China. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

India has a population of more than 1,400,000,000 according to the latest estimates (Image: AP)

By the end of the week, India will have the world’s largest population, the United Nations (UN) has said, taking over the decades-old title from China.

India has already eclipsed mainland China, UN estimates suggested earlier this month, but now it will soon have more than mainland China and Hong Kong combined.

China’s population peaked at 1,436,000,000 last year and has since started falling, causing officials a headache as they grapple with an aging workforce.

Falling birth rates are causing China’s population to shrink for the first time since 1961, just a few years after the UN’s world population records began.

But India, where almost 80% of Indians are under the age of 50, will see population growth in the coming “decades”.

The UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) said yesterday that India’s population will reach 1,425,775,850 by the end of this month.

FILE PHOTO: Commuters crowd on a train platform as they wait to board commuter trains at a train station in Mumbai, India January 20, 2023. REUTERS/Niharika Kulkarni/File Photo

India’s workforce is much younger than China’s (Image: Reuters)

“China will soon relinquish its long-held status as the world’s most populous country,” the ministry said.

However, demographers added that it’s hard to say since India’s last census was in 2011.

For all the UN knows, India may already have surpassed China’s population.

“Due to the uncertainty associated with estimating and extrapolating the population, the exact date by which India is expected to surpass China in population size is approximate and subject to revision,” DESA said.

“China’s population peaked at 1,426,000,000 billion in 2022 and has started to decline. Projections suggest that the size of China’s population could fall below 1 billion before the end of the century,” she added.

“In contrast, India’s population is expected to continue growing for several decades to come.”

TOPSHOT - Commuters travel on a crowded train near a railway station in the town of Loni, in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, on April 24, 2023. - India will overtake China as the world's most populous country by the end of June, according to UN estimates April 19, posing major challenges for a nation with a creaky infrastructure and insufficient jobs for millions of young people. (Photo by Arun SANKAR/AFP) (Photo by ARUN SANKAR/AFP via Getty Images)

The UN says the number of people over 65 in both countries will double in the next two decades (Image: AFP)

Both countries face the problems that come with an aging population, the department added.

Between 2023 and 2050, the number of people aged 65 and over is expected to nearly double in China and more than double in India, DESA said.

“Nevertheless, the growth of the elderly population in India relative to the total population will be much slower than in China,” she added.

Last week, a separate UN report noted how margins between the two nations are narrowing by the day.

The UN Population Fund said India will have 2,900,000 more people than China by mid-2023.

China has long made the most of having the world’s largest population and has become a global superpower with an economy to match.

epa10573513 An auto rickshaw driver drives through a busy street at a wholesale market in Chennai, India, April 14, 2023 (issued April 15, 2023). The world population has reached 8 billion on November 15, 2022, with China and India being the two most populous countries, each with over a billion people. The United Nations Population Fund has projected that in 2023 India will surpass China as the world's most populous country with about 1,429 people, while China's population has been declining and according to UN projections will have about 1,426 billion people by the end of 2023. EPA/ IDREES MOHAMMED

UN has recommended India and China do more to tackle climate change (Image: EPA)

As India nears the milestone, questions are being raised as to whether the country can do the same.

And on its way to becoming a world power, India’s nationalist government will face the problems that will accompany it.

As India’s population growth is skyrocketing, things are moving a little too fast in some regions – there aren’t enough formal jobs for everyone. Wages aren’t going up either.

According to the Indian Institute for Human Settlements, a Bangalore-based educational institute, the country is experiencing the second largest rural-urban migration in human history, with tens of millions of people moving from villages to cities for work.

Not all work either. India has one of the lowest rates of formal employment for women, according to World Bank estimates, with less than a third of women working or actively looking for a job.

DESA, meanwhile, said that both China’s and India’s policymakers will need to conduct a thorough review in the coming years in light of changing population numbers.

Both India and China tried for a time to keep their population growth rates as low as possible by slowing the birth rate; Consider Beijing’s one-child policy.

But the UN said policies surrounding reproductive rights “should ensure the fundamental human right of all individuals and couples to choose freely and responsibly the number and timing of their children.”

“Employment and social policies must make it both possible and desirable for women to have children while remaining in the labor market and developing their careers,” said DESA.

“Such measures may include, but are not limited to, the provision of subsidized childcare, maternity and paternity leave and tax credits.

“In efforts to tackle climate change, it is crucial that rising per capita incomes in India and China do not undermine efforts towards more sustainable consumption and production.”

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Justin Scaccy

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