India has surpassed China to become the world’s most populous nation with 142.86 crore people, according to a UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) State of World Population report. China stands second with an estimated population of 142.57 crore, the report states.
India has not conducted a census since 2011 hence most population figures published are not accurate but approximate calculations, a UN official said. The new data also marks the first time India has topped the UN list of most populous countries since the organization started collecting population data in 1950.
The data has revealed that 25 percent of India’s population is aged between 0-14 years, 18 percent is in the 10 to 19 age group, 26 percent are of 10 to 24 years, 68 percent between 15 to 64 years, and 7per cent are above 65 years. It further noted that India’s population is expected to keep rising for nearly three decades before it peaks at 1650 million and later begins to decline.
Commenting on the recent data, UN’s Chief of Population Estimates and Projection, Patrick Gerland, said in an interview with the BBC that any numbers about India’s real population size are “naive assumptions based on fragmented information. We don’t have real official data coming out from India,” he added.
It is to be noted that India has not conducted a census since 2011. The 2021 census was cancelled because of the COVID pandemic and has currently been pushed back again to 2024.
According to the new UNFPA data, China recorded a looming demographic decline as birth rates fell and the country’s workforce aged. According to the latest UN report, the global population will hit 8.045 billion by mid-2023. It further noted that countries in Europe and Asia could expect a demographic slump in the coming decades.