India is set to overtake China as the world’s most populous nation, with nearly 3 million more people by the middle of this year, data released Wednesday by the United Nations showed.
India’s mid-year population is projected to reach 1.4286 billion, compared to China’s 1.4257 billion – down 2.9 million – according to the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) “State of World Population Report” ) for 2023.
UN officials said it was not possible to determine the exact date for the change because of “uncertainty” about data coming from China and India. India’s last census was in 2011, and the most recent one, scheduled for 2021, was postponed during the Covid-19 pandemic.
By 2050, eight countries will account for half of the estimated global population growth: the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and Tanzania, according to the UNFPA report.
China has held the distinction of being the most populous country since 1950, when UN population records began.
China and India together will account for more than a third of the estimated global population, which is expected to reach 8.045 billion by mid-year, the UN report said. But contrary to public perception, population growth has slowed in both countries – especially in China, which saw its population decline for the first time in six decades last year.
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