After China reported that its population shrank in 2022, India is set to become the world’s most populous nation. During its briefing on annual data, China’s National Bureau of Statistics reported that the country’s population fell by around 850,000 people, bringing the country’s population to around 1.411 billion people.
The last time China recorded a drop in population was in 1961 during the famine that was triggered by Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward. In China, the birth rate fell to 6.77 births per 1000 people, equivalent to 9.56 million babies in 2022, the lowest since the founding of Communist China in 1949. The fall in birth rate is despite calls from the Chinese government for people to have more children.
Some experts have asserted that the downward trend in China’s population will become the new normal. According to Mei Fong, journalist and author of One Child, the one-child policy in China has caused a large portion of China’s young population to be male hence it will be hard for the country to overcome the population decline. “The fact that it’s a wholly male, hugely elderly population will make it much harder,” she added.
Alongside the population drop, China also recorded one of its worst annual economic performances in close to 50 years as the country’s GDP growth rate slowed to 3% due to its zero-COVID policy. As China opens up, the country will be compounded with issues of a shrinking workforce and the growth of its retired demographics.
In India on the other hand, the population is projected to hit 1.42 billion in 2023 even though the country’s population growth rate is also declining. Despite the slowing growth rate in India, the country is projected to surpass China as the world’s most populous nation as the Chinese population decline was more rapid than expected.
Impact on the Indian Economy
For India, the bulging population has been a critical economic factor. With over 900 million people among the working-age population, India faces a problem with an unemployment rate of about 8.30%. With an unemployment rate that high, experts believe that India is sitting on a time bomb if the country does not provide employment as soon as possible.
While the bulging population of India comes with immense responsibility for the government, it is also advantageous as the country boasts the largest youth population in the world. There is a vast abundance of human capital resources in India which can drive rapid economic growth in the country.
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With a projected GDP growth rate of 6.8% in the fiscal year ending March 2023, India is the fastest-growing major economy in the world. However, experts believe that the growth rate is not sufficient.
World Population Hits 8 Billion in 2022
The world’s population was projected to hit 8 billion on November 15, 2022. This is even as the world records the slowest global population growth rate since 1950.
It was noted by the UN that more than half of the projected increase in the global population between now and 2050 will take place in eight countries: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, and the United Republic of Tanzania.