India set to overtake China as the world’s most populous country
India is all set to become the world’s most populous country in just eight years. By 2027, India’s population, which stands at 1.37 billion, will exceed that of China, which is slightly ahead at 1.43 billion. These findings are part of the United Nations World Population Prospects 2019, a report released on the eve of World Population Day on 11 July.
China’s population is set to decline over the next decade, while India’s will continue to grow. India’s TFR, or Total Fertility Rate (defined as the average number of children a woman bears in her lifetime) is 2.1. This, incidentally, is also the “replacement fertility rate”. Interestingly, the Economic Survey 2018-19 released by the government of India last week projects a dip in population growth rate over the next two decades. So how will India still beat China? Because, as per the UN, other countries on top of the list will see greater dips than India.
Nigeria is the only other country that has a higher TFR (5.4), and is the other fastest growing nation, population-wise.
World population growth
The population of the world is approx. 7.7 billion. By 2050, world population is set to grow by 2 billion to hit nearly 9.7 billion. How significant is that? It took us nearly 1 million years for humanity, as we know it, to reach a population of 1 billion, around the year 1800. The next billion milestone was achieved around 1927, i.e. in 127 years. We added another billion humans in just 33 years thereafter, and then took just 14 years to take it up to four billion. How long will it take for us to hit our next billion milestone? Just 8 years! Way to go.
Here are some other highlights from the study:
- 9 countries will make up more than half the projected growth rate between now and 2050: The largest increase will come from India, Nigeria, Pakistan, DRC, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Indonesia, Egypt and the USA.
- Fertility rates remain high, but women are having fewer babies
- Rapid population presents a growth to sustainable development: Much of the growth is coming through poorer countries.
- Migration is a huge factor and will impact populations of individual countries
- In some countries, the population boom means better economic growth
- The world is ageing, with 65+ being the fastest growing cohort
- Dip in number of working-age people is putting a strain on social support systems