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United Nations predicts India to surpass China by 2.9 million in population by mid-2023

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India is set to overtake China as the world’s most populous country, surpassing 2.9 million people by mid-2023, according to United Nations data released on Wednesday.

The population of the South Asian country will be 1.4286 billion, down from 1.4257 billion, by the middle of the year, according to projections by the United Nations. Demographers say that the limitations of population data make it impossible to calculate an exact date.

China has had the largest population in the world since at least 1950, the year the United Nations population data began. China and India each have over 1.4 billion people, and together they make up more than a third of the world’s population of 8 billion.

Not long ago, India wasn’t expected to become its most populous country until later in the decade. But the timing has been accelerated by China’s declining fertility rate, as families have fewer children.

Today, China is experiencing an aging population with stagnant growth despite the government’s reversal of the one-child policy seven years ago.

In contrast, India has a much smaller population, a higher fertility rate, and has seen a decline in infant mortality over the past three decades.

However, the country’s fertility rate has been steadily declining, from more than five births per woman in 1960 to just over two in 2020, according to World Bank data.

India’s continued growth is likely to have social and economic consequences. India has the largest youth population at 254 million aged 15-24 years, according to the United Nations

Experts hope this means an increased workforce that can help drive growth in the country for decades to come. But they warn that it could quickly become a demographic burden if India’s growing number of young people is not sufficiently employed.

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