Data released by the United Nations on Wednesday indicated that India is on track to surpass China as the world’s most populous nation by the middle of this year, adding nearly 3 million more people.
According to the UNFPA’s “State of World Population Report” for 2023, India’s population is expected to reach 1.4286 billion by mid-year, while China’s population is 1.4257 billion, or 2.9 million fewer.
Due to “uncertainty” regarding the data coming from China and India, UN officials have stated that the precise date of the shift cannot be determined. The most recent census in India, scheduled for 2021, was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which occurred in 2011.
The data, which reflect information that was available as of February, demonstrated that the United States of America is a very far third, with an estimated population of 340 million.
Eight nations will account for half of the projected global population growth by 2050: The UNFPA report mentions Tanzania, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Since at least 1950, when UN population records began, China has been the most populous nation.
China and India together will represent in excess of 33% of the assessed worldwide populace, as most would consider to be normal to hit 8.045 billion by mid-year, the UN report said. However, contrary to popular belief, population growth has slowed in both countries, with China experiencing its first population decline in six decades last year.
According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the country’s population in 2022 decreased by 850,000 people to 1.411 billion, down from the previous year. The rate of birth likewise tumbled to a record low of 6.77 births per 1,000 individuals, down from 7.52 a year sooner and the most minimal level starting from the establishing of Socialist China in 1949.
Both Asian giants will suffer significant economic consequences if India surpasses China. China’s deteriorating population data and one of its lowest economic growth rates in nearly 50 years were also reported last year, highlighting the country’s significant challenges as the number of retired people grows and the labor force shrinks.
Beijing’s chiefs have tried to minimize the meaning of being surpassed by India.
A nation’s demographic dividend is not only determined by the total number of people it has, but also by their quality; when asked about the most recent UN projection, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters, “not only on the population, but also on the talent.”
According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development for the year 2021, there are more than 900 million people in India who are of working age. The Indian government predicts that this number will surpass one billion in the next ten years.
However, experts cautioned that if policymakers do not create sufficient jobs, these numbers could become a liability. As of now, information show a developing number of Indians are not in any event, searching for work, offered the absence of chances and low wages.
According to World Bank data for 2021, India’s labor force participation rate, which is an estimation of the active workforce and people looking for work, was 46 percent, which is one of the lowest in Asia. By correlation, the rates for China and the US remained at 68% and 61% separately around the same time.
“India is sitting on a time bomb,” Chandrasekhar Sripada, professor of organizational behavior at the Indian School of Business, told CNN earlier this year. “There will be social unrest if it cannot create enough employment in a relatively short period of time.”
Are individual rights in danger?
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) stated in its report that, despite the fact that reaching the milestone of 8 billion people on the planet was a reminder that more people are living longer, healthier lives, concerns over the number had caused governments to become more anxious and more to implement policies aimed at influencing fertility rates.
Gender-based discrimination can be fueled by governments’ efforts to influence fertility rates through family planning goals and policies, it said.
Commentators in India pointed to the negative effects of similar policies when some states proposed a two-child policy in 2021, which included financial incentives for sterilization and penalties like lost benefits.
According to the report, one commentator stated, “Sex-selective abortion, preference for male children, denying the paternity of female children, prenatal sex determination, and violence against women for giving birth to girl children will be on the rise.”
The report also stated that the national government made it abundantly clear that it opposed coercion in family planning, including in parliament, where it stated that it did not support such policies.
China’s one-child policy, which the country ended in 2015 after 35 years and allowed families to have two children, had some of those negative effects.
“The connection between conceptive independence and better lives is an uncontested truth: In the report’s foreword, UNFPA executive director Natalia Kanem stated that “women, their families, and their societies thrive when women are empowered to make choices about their bodies and lives.”
She added, however, that was not the predominant message at the announcement of the 8 billion milestone last year.
“Instead, many headlines warned of a world teetering into overpopulation, or that whole countries and regions were ageing into obsolescence. Somehow, when the human numbers are tallied and population milestones passed, the rights and potential of individuals fade too easily into the background.”
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