UN report: India's population set to overtake China's by 0.29 crore this year

The United States brings up a distant third, with an estimated population of 340 million by mid-2023, the estimates suggested.

Representative image of India's populous streets (Getty Images)
Representative image of India's populous streets (Getty Images)

NH Political Bureau

India is soon to become the world's most populous country, overtaking China. It will lead China by nearly 0.3 crore more people by mid-2023, data released on Wednesday by the United Nations showed.

The report also estimated that the global population will have hit 8.045 billion by the same date.

Titled '8 Billion Lives, Infinite Possibilities: The Case for Rights and Choices', the demographic data published on Wednesday comes from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) State of World Population Report, 2023, which estimates India's population at 1,428.6 million or 1.4286 billion, against China's 1.4257 billion.

The United States is a distant third, with an estimated population of 340 million, the data showed. The data reflects information available as of February 2023, the report said.

India has no recent official data on how many people it has because it has not conducted a census since 2011. India's once-in-a-decade census was due to be held in 2021, but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to The Hindu, "Critics say the government is deliberately delaying the census to hide data on contentious issues such as unemployment ahead of [the] national elections next year."

“As the world reaches 8 billion people, we at UNFPA see India’s 1.4 billion people as 1.4 billion opportunities,” said Andrea Wojnar, Representative, UNFPA India, and Country Director, Bhutan, on the report.

“Population numbers should not trigger anxiety or create alarm. Instead, they should be seen as a symbol of progress, development, and aspirations if individual rights and choices are being upheld,” she added.

Mujib Mashal and Alex Travelli, writing for the New York Times, have said, "India's immense size and lasting growth also lay bare its enormous challenges, renewing in this latest spotlight moment a perennial, if still uncomfortable, question: When will it ever fulfill its vast promise and become a power on the order of China or the United States?"

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