Home News National India Likely To Surpass China To Become World’s Most Populous Nation By Mid-2023, Suggests UN Data

India Likely To Surpass China To Become World’s Most Populous Nation By Mid-2023, Suggests UN Data

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India Likely To Surpass China To Become World’s Most Populous Nation By Mid-2023, Suggests UN Data

NEW DELHI: India is set to surpass China to become the world’s most populous nation with 142.86 crore people – almost 3 million more people than its powerful neighbor by the middle of this year, according to the latest UN estimates. India’s population by mid-year is estimated at 1.4286 billion, against 1.4257 billion for China – 2.9 million fewer – in the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) “State of World Population Report” for this year.

The United States is a distant third, with an estimated population of 340 million as of the end of June, the data showed in a report that reflects information available until February.

According to the new UNFPA report, 25 per cent of India’s population is in the age group of 0-14 years, 18 per cent in the 10 to 19 age group, 26 per cent in the age bracket of 10 to 24 years, 68 per cent in the 15 to 64 years age group, and 7 per cent above 65 years.

Population experts using previous data from the UN have projected India’s population would surpass China’s this month, but the global body’s latest report did not specify a date.

The UNFPA report doesn’t say by which date India’s population will actually surpass China’s. News agency Reuters quoted UN population officials as saying that the date could not be ascertained due to a lack of information from India. The officials, according to Reuters, attributed it to the delay in the Census that was supposed to be conducted in India in 2021 but was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The last Census was conducted in 2011. It is yet unclear when the decennial Census will be conducted.

In early March, the World Population Review estimated that India had overtaken China in terms of total population. A UNFPA statement, however, also cautioned that the population numbers should be interpreted without any hysteria and called upon world leaders for a “radical rethink of how population numbers are framed – urging politicians and media to abandon overblown narratives about population booms and busts.”

Earlier estimates by different agencies have suggested that India’s population will keep rising for nearly three decades before it peaks at 165 crore and then it will start declining. The population demographics of India vary from state to state. Kerala and Punjab have an aging population while Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have a young population, experts have said. Andrea Wojnar, the representative for United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) India and the country director for Bhutan, said that “India’s 1.4 billion people must be seen as 1.4 billion opportunities”.

“As the country with the largest youth cohort — its 254 million youth (15-24 years) — can be a source of innovation, new thinking and lasting solutions. “The trajectory can leapfrog forward if women and girls, in particular, are equipped with equal educational and skill building opportunities, access to technology and digital innovations, and most importantly with information and power to fully exercise their reproductive rights and choices,” she said.

Wojnar said that ensuring gender equality, empowerment and advancing greater bodily autonomy for women and girls are the key determinants for a sustainable future. Individual rights and choices should be respected, and all should be able to decide when to have children, if any, and how many, she said. “Women and girls should be at the center of sexual and reproductive policies and programmes. When rights, choices and equal value of all people are truly respected and held, only then can we unlock a future of infinite possibilities,” the UN official added.

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