India Overtakes China, As Most Populous Nation With 142.86 Crore People: UN Data Reveals

By Stermy 3 Min Read

UN data released on Wednesday shows that India has surpassed China as the world’s most populous nation. According to the UN’s World Population dashboard, India’s population now stands at 1.428 billion, slightly higher than China’s 1.425 billion people, as reported by the news agency Bloomberg.

A new UNFPA report reveals that a quarter of India’s population falls 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 are above 65 years.

Several estimates suggest that India’s population will continue to rise for the next three decades before reaching its peak at 165 crore, after which it is expected to decline.

This burgeoning population will add urgency for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to create employment opportunities for the millions of people entering the workforce as the nation transitions from farm jobs.

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India, where half of the population is under the age of 30, is poised to be the world’s fastest-growing major economy in the coming years.

Despite India’s immense size and lasting growth, the nation still faces enormous challenges. The country’s population is expected to reach 1.668 billion by 2050, while China’s population is expected to contract to about 1.317 billion.

This raises the perennial question of when India will fulfill its vast promise and become a power on the order of China or the United States.

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To sustain its pace of expansion in the coming decades, India needs to tackle its longstanding deficiency of job creation.

A top-heavy and gridlocked economy, India must produce 90 million new jobs before 2030, outside of agriculture, to maintain steady employment rates. However, the country has been falling far short of that pace even before the pandemic.

India needs to invest in education, health, nutrition, and skilling for employability to unlock its potential demographic dividend.

However, there also needs to be an emphasis on creating jobs for the millions of young people who enter the market every year. Women’s participation in the workforce is also crucial as they currently only account for a fifth of the total labor force.

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India’s population remains largely rural, unlike China’s. The majority of India’s people will continue to live in the hinterland, while the bulk of China’s population will increasingly be urban by 2035, according to estimates from UN-Habitat. This is a reminder of the challenges that India faces in alleviating poverty and reducing inequality.

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