India To Be The World's most populous country In 2023
The United Nation (UN) has published World Population Prospects (WPP), released on World Population Day. The UN Population Division’s (UNPD) projection suggest that the world’s population is expected to reach 8 billion on November 15, 2022 & 9.7 billion in 2050, before caching a peak of approx. 10.4 billion people during the 2080s. The population is expected to be at that level until 2100. India is on course to surpass China as the world's most populous country in 2023, four years earlier than expected.
Since 1951, the Population Division of the UN has been publishing the WPP in a biennial cycle. A historical time series of population indicators starting in1950 is provided by each revision of the WPP. It does so by considering newly released national data to revise estimates of past trends infertility, mortality, or international migration. This latest assessment considers the results of 1,758 national population censuses conducted between 1950 & 2022, as well as information from vital registration systems & from 2,890 nationally representative sample surveys. Population projections are also presented by the 2022 revision to the year 2100 that reflect a range of plausible outcomes at the global, national & regional, levels. This report is the 27th edition of official UN population estimates.
According to the latest U.N. projections, more than half the projected increase in population up to 2050 will be concentrated in just eight countries: India, Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Nigeria, the Philippines, & Pakistan. However, the pace of growth is slowing down, the world’s population continues to grow. The population of older persons is increasing both in numbers & as a share of the total. A sustained drop in fertility has led to an increased concentration of the population at working ages (between 25 & 64years), creating an opportunity for accelerated economic growth per capita. International migration made prominent impacts on population trends for some countries.
A variety of metrics — fertility & replacement rates, sex ratio, proportion of the young & old in the country, intra-regional disparities, migration trends—enable a far more nuanced understanding of demographic dynamics today compared to the 1950s when India began the journey on its “population control” programme. The use of such analytical tools has led to significant shifts in demographic studies—the discipline has outgrown its Malthusian moorings & population growth is regarded as a challenge, not an emergency. At the same time, however, terms such as “population explosion” remain in popular parlance & are often invoked — largely, & often selectively, by the political class— to convey the sense of impending crisis. Then, such pronouncements make the way for coercive measures to limit families. In coming days, policy makers would do well to avoid knee-jerk reactions to the UN agency's statistics. An informed debate is needed.
The country loses out on ideas & perspectives that are critical for addressing its several social & economic challenges— including those related to population— as well as harnessing new opportunities. In the wake of the UN report, this should be amongst the first concerns. A population of more than 1.4 billion will require the unflinching focus of policymakers on are as fundamental to human well-being—education, nutrition, healthcare, housing, & employment. The youth need to be equipped with skills that are necessary to the knowledge economy. The climate crisis & other ecological imperatives will mean that the footprints of many activities are kept light. Most importantly, the challenges will spur debate, discussion, even dissension, & require that diverse voices are heard. India's democratic traditions & the strength of its institutions will be needed to navigate the way forward from here.