India will soon surpass China as the world’s most populous country by 2023, according to projections from a new United Nations report.
In celebration of World Population Day, the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs released its World Population Prospects 2022 report on Monday with a summary of global population projections.
With more than 1.4 billion residents in each China and India, the two regions boast the largest populations in the world.
The fact that India’s population is projected to surpass China’s in less than a decade is particularly striking considering China has a land mass of 3,747,877 square miles, nearly triple that of India’s (1,269,906 square miles).
The total world population is predicted to reach an estimated 8 billion by November 15 of this year and grow to 8.5 billion by 2030.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres described the eighth billionth inhabitant as a “milestone year” to be celebrated.
“At the same time,” he added, “it is a reminder of our shared responsibility to care for our planet and a moment to reflect on where we still fall short of our commitments to one another.”
Eight countries, the majority of them from sub-Saharan African nations, are predicted to be responsible for more than half of the projected increase in global population by 2050: Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and the United Republic of Tanzania.
The overall global population, however, was found to be growing at its slowest rate since 1950, falling below 1 percent in 2020, which shows that global fertility rates have dropped in recent decades for many countries. The population of 61 countries are predicted to drop by at least 1 percent between 2022 and 2050.
Across the world there were five births per woman in 1950, but that figure is projected to change to 2.1 births by 2050.
The COVID-19 pandemic is largely credited with the rapid increase in deaths for the recent year — 14.9 million deaths to be exact, between January 2020 and December 2021. The global life expectancy dropped from 72.8 years in 2019 to 71.0 years in 2021.
Also included in the report was a push for countries with aging populations to establish public programs such as universal health care and improved social security. People of ages 65 and older are projected to rise from 10 percent in 2022 to 16 percent in 2050, in which the number of those over 65 years will be twice the number of children under age 5.