According to new data released by the United Nations’ Department of Economic and Social Affairs, India is on track to surpass China’s population by 2022. Also Read - Nepal to Send New Map to India, United Nations; Here's Why The World Body Won't Recognise it
As of 2015, China is the most populated country in the world, with approximately 1.4 billion people, accounting for 19 percent of the Earth’s population. By contrast, India, the second most populated country, has about 1.3 billion people and accounts for 18 percent of the world’s population. Also Read - 'Want to Work as Human Rights Officer': Aligarh Mechanic's Son Tops at US High School
The United Nations’ report, titled “The 2015 Revision of World Population Prospects,” cites that both countries are expected to have approximately 1.4 billion people in just seven years. Thereafter, India’s population is projected to continue growing for several decades to 1.5 billion in 2030, and 1.7 billion in 2050, “while the population of China is expected to remain fairly constant until the 2030s, after which it is expected to slightly decrease.” Also Read - Assam Floods: Death Toll Mounts to 85, United Nations Takes Stock of Situation
The report also predicts that nine countries will account for more than half of the world’s projected population increase over the period 2015-2050: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, United Republic of Tanzania, United States of America, Indonesia, and Uganda, “listed according to the size of their contribution to global population growth.”
If the United Nations’ forecasts are accurate, India may have to make some adjustments to accommodate the population boom. According to the New York Times, in 2010, 38.2 percent of Indians were considered to be living in poverty. Much of this can be attributed to India’s “preoccupation with industrialization” and “disdain for welfare programs.” With nearly 40 percent of India’s population struggling to make ends meet, an increase in population may result in a scarcer food supply. To accommodate this growth, India will need to modernize its agricultural methods.
Another potential challenge may be transportation. Although infrastructure development has progressed rapidly, India’s transportation system is still riddled with problems due to outdated infrastructure and a lack of government investment. According to the World Bank, the demand for transport infrastructure and services has been steadily rising at 10 percent annually. Relevantly, in 2009, the Goldman Sachs Group Inc. estimated that India will need $1.7 trillion to build infrastructure over the next decade to boost economic growth.
According to the United Nations report, its projection “provides the demographic data and indicators to assess population trends at the global, regional and national levels and to calculate many other key indicators commonly used by the United Nations system.” As such, it is important to note that these figures should be taken with a grain of salt.
“As with any type of projection, there is a degree of uncertainty surrounding these latest population projections. The results presented above are based on the medium projection variant, which assumes a decline of fertility for countries where large families are still prevalent as well as a slight increase of fertility in several countries with fewer than two children per woman on average,” the report reads. “Survival prospects are also projected to improve in all countries.”