According to United Nations’ latest projections of global population, India is expected to overtake China as the world’s most populous country in April 2023. Having gradually closed the gap to China from more than 200 million people in 2000 to little more than 10 million in 2022, India is expected to reach a population of 1.425 billion this month, matching and subsequently surpassing the long-time leader.
In recent years, China’s population growth has slowed down notably due to its one-child policy, stalling at 1.425 billion since 2021 before reaching an inflection point in 2023, when the UN expects China’s population to decline for the first time since 1961, when three years of famine had decimated the country’s population.
For India, which is currently expected to continue growing until the 2060s, its new position as the world’s most populous country will come with a new set of challenges, both domestically and internationally. These challenges include providing access to healthcare, education, and employment opportunities to an ever-growing number of people, all while finding its role in the global political and economic landscape.
Looking beyond India and China, the UN predicts that global population growth will be concentrated in developing countries, particularly in Africa. By 2100, five African nations are expected to join India, China, and the United States among the world’s 10 most populous countries. This demographic shift at the global level will require new approaches to managing resources, promoting sustainable development, and addressing issues such as poverty, inequality and access to healthcare and education.
This chart shows the population of the world’s most populous countries from 1950 to 2100.
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