India to Overtake China as the Most Populous Country

December 13, 2019

Children in India

China flagIndia flagIndia is about to surpass China in population, and it's happening a little bit sooner than anyone expected.

Demographers working with the United Nations had forecast that the two most populous countries in the world would trade spots in 2028, but now they're saying it will happen in 2022.

As it stands currently, China is home to about 1.4 billion people and India has 1.3 billion, but India's population is growing faster and will eclipse 1.4 billion in a couple of years, then India will begin extending the lead.

India’s population is expected to grow for decades, predicted to reach 1.7 billion in 2050. On the other hand, China’s population growth is expected to level out until the 2030s and then begin decreasing.

Where do predictions like that come from?

A report compiled by the UN measures demographic trends and patterns in human fertility, mortality, and migration. The findings are made available to governments around the world to help them achieve the UN's 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Some notable global trends include decreasing populations, massive aging populations due to higher life expectancy, and less population discrepancy between rich and poor nations.

Five of the ten largest countries by population are in Asia—Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, and Pakistan. The fastest-growing population, among the ten most populous countries, is in Nigeria, which is expected to have more people than the United States by 2050.

One thing the UN has discovered is that China is one of 55 countries or areas expected to see their populations decrease—the death rate exceeds the birth rate in China, and its population is projected to shrink by 31.4 million between 2019 and 2050.

China has tried to avoid the impending population decline by reversing its One Child policy, now encouraging couples to have more children. So far, due to a largely urban population that's dealing with rising costs of living, efforts to boost the birth rate have failed.

Population trends are rich fodder for geographic study, and at Seterra, we're dialed in, keeping a watchful eye on China and India as they swap positions at the top of the list of most populous nations.