India has become the world’s most populous country, overtaking China, according to latest data on the United Nations world population dashboard. According to UN estimates, India now has a population of 142.86 crore against China’s 142.57 crore.
According to a report published by the United Nations Population Fund on Wednesday, the fertility rate in India is 2, whereas that of China stands at 1.2. China is facing a demogaphic crisis as the workforce ages amid plunging birth rates.
The government had announced plans to boost the birth rates amid reports earlier this year that the country’s population had fallen for the first time in 60 years. China’s strict one-child policy which was implemented till 2015 has been blamed for the decline.
The UN’s ‘State of the World Population’ report titled ‘8 billion lives, infinite possibilities’ stated that most of the survey’s respondents in India felt that the population in their own country was too large and fertility rates were too high.
Majority of the respondents in Brazil, Egypt and Nigeria also held the same opinion. As part of the SWOP 2023, a UNFPA-commissioned public survey conducted by YouGov asked a representative sample of 1,007 in India about their views on population issues.
According to the report, 25 per cent of India’s population is in the age group of 0-14 years, 18 per cent in the 10 to 19 age group, 26 per cent in the age bracket of 10 to 24 years, 68 per cent in 15 to 64 years age group, and 7 per cent above 65 years.
Estimates by different agencies have suggested that India’s population is expected to keep rising for nearly three decades before it peaks at 165 crore and then start declining. Andrea Wojnar, the representative for United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) India and the country director for Bhutan, said that “India’s 1.4 billion people must be seen as 1.4 billion opportunities”.
“As the country with the largest youth cohort—its 254 million youth (15-24 years)— can be a source of innovation, new thinking and lasting solutions,” she said.