Home / News / World /  India set to become world’s most populous country next year as world population hits 8 billion: UN report

India is set to surpass China to become the world’s most populous country by 2023, says a report by the United Nations.

This is because fertility rates in China have declined considerably in past years, with the country expected to see an absolute decline in population numbers as early as 2023. The gap between both countries will continue to grow. By 2050, India is expected to have a population of 1.668 billion while China’s population will decline to 1.317 billion.

These projections were made as part of the World Population Prospects Report which is released by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

According to the report, the world’s population crossed the 8 billion mark by November 15. By 2050, Earth will be host to 9.7 billion humans. About half of the increase in population from the present day to 2050 will be contributed by just 8 countries, including India.

The world’s population will hit 10.4 billion by the 2080s and will stabilise around that number by the end of the century.

However, the UN report also points to a decline in the rate of population growth worldwide. “In 2020, the global population growth rate fell under 1 per cent per year for the first time since 1950", the report reads. There has also been a stark decline in global fertility rates, which came down from around 5 births per woman in 1950 to 2.3 births per woman in 2021. That number is expected to decline to just 2.1 births by 2050.

The rise in global population, then, is largely driven by “the momentum of past growth that is embedded in the youthful age structure of the current population". The report makes clear that actions by governments to push population control measures in the present day will not have a major impact on growth over the next few decades.

However, the global rise in population contrasts sharply with forecasts of population decline in many parts of the world. The report states that “the populations of 61 countries or areas are projected to decrease by 1 per cent or more between 2022 and 2050, owing to sustained low levels of fertility". Countries like Ukraine, Bulgaria, Latvia and Lithuania among others can expect to see population declines of 20% or more by 2050.

The report also points out that global life expectancy at birth has increased steadily in past decades and shot up by 9 years between 1990 and 2019 to reach 72.8 years. However, this number fell to 71 years in 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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