India to become most populated country in the world by 2024, says UN report

In roughly seven years, around 2024, the population of India is expected to surpass that of China, according to a UN report – the World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision--published by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

The report stated that currently, China with a population of about 1.41 billion and India with a population of about 1.34 billion are two of the most populous countries comprising 19 and 18 percent of the total global population.

The 2017 Revision of World Population Prospects is the 25th round of official UN population estimates and projections. In its 24th round of estimates released in 2015, it was projected that the population of India will surpass that of China’s by 2022.

Main Highlights of the Forecast 

By 2024, India and China are expected to roughly have a population of about 1.44 billion each.

After that, India’s population is projected to continue growing and touch 1.5 billion in 2030 and approach 1.66 billion by 2050, while China’s population is projected to remain stable until the 2030s, after which it may begin a slow decline.

India’s population is forecasted to eventually see a decline after 2050 and come down to 1.51 billion by 2100 but it will still remain as the most populous country in the world. 

Life expectancy at birth in India will be 71 years in 2025-2030, which is forecasted to grow to 74.2 years in 2045-2050. 

The under-five mortality rate is expected to decline from 32.3 deaths under age five per 1,000 live births in 2025-2030 to 18.6 in 2045-2050.

World Population Forecast  

• The current world population of 7.6 billion is expected to reach 8.6 billion in 2030, 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100.

• The upward trend in population size is expected to continue with roughly 83 million people being added to the world’s population every year, even though fertility levels are assumed to continue to decline. 

• From 2017 to 2050, nine countries are expected to collectively account for more than half of the world’s projected population increase. The countries include India, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, Ethiopia, the United Republic of Tanzania, the United States of America, Uganda and Indonesia.

• Among the ten largest countries worldwide, Nigeria is growing the most rapidly and consequently, its population, which is currently the world’s7th largest, is expected to become the world’s 3rd largest before 2050, surpassing the United States. 

• With respect to migrants, US, Germany, Canada, UK, Australia and Russia are expected to be the top net receivers of international migrants (more than 100,000 annually) between 2015 and 2050. 

• The countries projected to be net senders of more than 100,000 migrants annually include India, Bangladesh, China, Pakistan and Indonesia.

• Most of the global increase is attributable to a small number of countries, as the group of 47 least developed countries (LDCs) continue to have a relatively high level of fertility, which stood at 4.3 births per woman in 2010-2015, resulting in a 2.4 percent increase in population per year. 

• Although the rate of increase is expected to slow significantly over the coming decades, the combined population of the LDCs, roughly one billion in 2017, is projected to increase by 33 % between 2017 and 2030 and reach 1.9 billion persons by 2050.

• Africa also continues to experience high rates of population growth. The population of 26 African countries is projected to expand to at least double their current size between 2017 and 2050. 

Slower population growth due to low fertility rates? 

• The report reveals that fertility has declined in nearly all regions of the world.

• More and more countries now have fertility rates below the level required for the replacement of successive generations (roughly 2.1 births per woman) with some being in the situation for several decades.

• During 2010-2015, fertility was below the replacement level in 83 countries comprising 46 % of the world’s population. The ten most populous countries in this group include China, the United States of America, Brazil, the Russian Federation, Japan, Viet Nam, Germany, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.

• The report highlights that a reduction in the fertility level not only slows the pace of population growth but also leads to an older population.

• Compared to 2017, the number of persons aged 60 or above is expected to double by 2050 and to more than triple by 2100, rising from 962 million globally in 2017 to 2.1 billion in 2050 and 3.1 billion in 2100.

• Population ageing is projected to have a profound effect on societies. It would place immense pressure both fiscal and political on health care, old-age pension and social protection systems of many countries.

Overall, life expectancy has improved substantially across the globe in recent years. While life expectancy at birth for men has risen from 65 years in 2000-2005 to 69 years in 2010-2015, for women it has risen from 69 years to 73 years in the same period. 


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