India’s population is projected to surpass China’s by mid-2023, according to data released by the United Nations, marking a significant shift in global demographics.
India’s estimated population of 1.4286 billion would be 2.9 million more than China’s population of 1.4257 billion. The two Asian countries have collectively accounted for over a third of the world’s population for more than 70 years.
The decline in China’s birth rate has contributed to its shrinking population, which experienced its first decrease since 1961 last year. India’s population forecast, provided in the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) State of World Population report, is an estimate due to the absence of a census in the country since 2011.
Notably, the UN’s estimate does not include the populations of China’s two Special Administrative Regions – Hong Kong and Macau – or Taiwan, which is considered a breakaway province by China but sees itself as distinct from the mainland.
Both India and China have witnessed declines in their fertility rates, with China’s population projected to start declining next year despite the abandonment of its one-child policy in 2016.
Factors such as rising living costs and increasing female workforce participation have been attributed to the slowdown in China. In India, fertility rates have also decreased substantially in recent decades.
While some view India’s population overtaking China’s as a concern, demographers argue that it should be seen as a symbol of progress, development, and aspirations, as long as individual rights and choices are respected. However, economic issues remain a top concern for many Indians when considering population growth, according to a survey commissioned by the UNFPA.
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