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India Will Be Most Populous Country Sooner Than Thought, U.N. Says

 

Demographers have known for some time that the number of people in India would surpass the number in China, the two most populous countries in the world. But they did not anticipate that the change would happen so quickly.

 

The United Nations reported on Wednesday that India’s population will probably surpass China’s by 2022, not 2028, as the organization had forecast just two years ago.

 

In its 2015 revision report, the population division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs said China’s population was now 1.38 billion, compared with 1.31 billion in India. But in seven years, the populations of both are expected to reach 1.4 billion.

 

Thereafter, the report said, India’s population will grow for decades, to 1.5 billion in 2030 and 1.7 billion in 2050, while China’s is expected to remain fairly constant until the 2030s, when it is expected to slightly decrease.

 

Over all, the report said, the world’s current population of 7.3 billion is expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, slightly more than the 9.6 billion forecast two years ago.

 

Much of the overall increase between now and 2050 is expected in high-fertility countries, mainly in Africa, or in countries with large populations, the report said.

 

Half the growth is expected to be concentrated in just nine countries: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, the United States, Indonesia and Uganda.

 

By contrast, the populations of 48 countries are expected to decline in that period, mainly in Europe, because of a slowdown in fertility rates that started decades ago. The report said several countries faced a population decline of more than 1.5 percent by 2050, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine.

 

Among the 10 largest countries by population, one is in Africa (Nigeria), five are in Asia (Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia and Pakistan), two are in Latin America (Brazil and Mexico) one is in North America (the United States), and one is in Europe (Russia). Among these, Nigeria’s population is growing the fastest.

 

The population estimates and projections from the United Nations are an important benchmark for global trends, as well as for helping provide demographic data to calculate many other important indicators, including health data, around the world.

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