More Indians than Chinese: good or bad?


What does the UN report say?

On July 1, 2023, India will become the most populous country in the world. India will have 1.428 billion people that day, slightly ahead of China’s 1.426 billion. India will eliminate China even sooner than previously thought (in 2027). Even though the rate of growth will slow, India’s population will continue to increase until 2064, when it will peak at 1.697 billion before beginning to decline and fall to 1.53 billion in 2100. China’s population will decline nearly halved over this period, slipping to around 0.77. billion in 2100. This explains why China adopted a three-child policy.

India’s population will jump 25% between 2011 and 2026, rising from 1.21 billion in 2011 to 1.52 billion. India’s share of world population has remained the same since 2011, at around 17%, and is expected to remain there, declining slightly to around 15% in 2100. In contrast, India’s share of world GDP n is only about 7%, although growing. at a steady pace, demonstrating economic growth and income disparities around the world.

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China’s population will nearly halve during this period. This explains why China has adopted a three-child policy.

Meanwhile, the rate of world population growth has slowed. It will cross the 8 billion mark on November 15, 2022 and cross 9 billion in 2038. This will be the longest time the world has taken to add one billion people to its tally since 1950. Nearly half of the growth world demographic will be represented by poor sub-Saharan Africa with India, Pakistan and the Philippines in Asia. It will be difficult to ensure equitable growth in the years to come. Interestingly, Pakistan’s population is booming and will double to 400 million in 2050, making it the fifth most populous country in the world, despite being only the 33rd in terms of land area.

Is the population explosion a handicap for India?

Clearly, a gigantic population makes equitable growth a difficult proposition. “Rapid population growth makes it more difficult to eradicate poverty, fight hunger and malnutrition, and increase the coverage of health and education systems,” said Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary-General United for Economic and Social Affairs, in a press release. all its economic progress, after 1991, still lags behind social indicators.

A high percentage of the working population in India, as the UN report suggests, puts India on the brink of a demographic dividend, with young people set to catalyze an economic boom. The potential is huge. India will add another 183 million people to its working age group of 15 to 64 between 2020 and 2050, according to the United Nations population statistics database. That’s a staggering 22% of the world’s additional workforce. In fact, India’s working-age population will continue to grow until 2050, presenting India with an opportunity to emerge as a global manufacturing hub and a giant consumer market for the entire world. But India needs to overhaul its basic and higher education by providing relevant skills to its workforce. An ICN report found in 2019-20 that only 73 million of India’s 542 million workers had received some form of vocational training (formal or informal). The Modi government has now taken a series of steps to overhaul the educational framework and skills of Indian youth through initiatives such as the New Education Policy, Skill India and Digital India.

For a demographic dividend, India needs to put more emphasis on social development. In 2021, India’s ranking on the United Nations Human Development Index was 131. India’s literacy levels at 77% – although a dramatic improvement from levels of 12% at the time of independence, India lags behind the world average of 85%. Extreme poverty has halved over the past decade to around 10%, but on the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index, India ranks 66th out of 109 countries. And unemployment remains a problem, especially in rural India. The rural economy still experiences massive hidden unemployment in agriculture, accentuated by the fragmentation of land holdings. All of these factors create gaping income inequality in India, with the richest 10% of India’s population owning around 65% of the country’s wealth.

China’s lesson

China has become the “factory of the world” by focusing on labor-intensive industries such as automobiles, hardware, and toys. Cheap labor, technically skilled labor and the push on infrastructure have fueled China’s economy, which has grown by double digits for nearly three decades. India has also l ambition to become a manufacturing powerhouse with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s emphasis on “Make in India” – efforts are already underway to train the youth and transform basic infrastructure, from ports to roads to electricity.

Meanwhile, China has quietly moved to the next stage of its evolution, experts point out. Long an export-driven market, it is reducing its dependence on the world and quietly shifting gears to become a domestic consumption-driven economy, especially as the world attempts to transition to near-shoring. in a post-pandemic period. world to ensure a steady supply. In fact, even before the pandemic, between 2010 and 2019, exports as a share of China’s GDP increased from 27% to 18.5% while domestic consumption increased from 35% to 39%. Modi’s Atmanirbhar Bharat could be a step in that direction.

Who is correct? The UN survey or the NHFS-5?

Does the UN survey, revealing that India’s population will continue to grow for decades, contradict the findings of the fifth round of the National Family Health Survey (NHFS-5), as some suggest it? According to NHFS-5, India’s total fertility rate (TFR) fell from 2.2 in 2015-16 to 2.0 in 2019-21. The TFR is the average number of children born to a woman – a TFR of 2.1 is widely accepted around the world as the level at which the population begins to stabilize. India’s TFR says its population would soon stop growing, settling at replacement level – or even falling below – soon. But, as experts point out, NHFS surveys may not paint an accurate picture because their sample sizes are quite small for a country with an Indian population. Consider, for example, how NHFS-5 seems to suggest that women now outnumber men in India, but many experts consider the conclusion to be inaccurate. The census is the final word on the demographics of India as it covers every Indian. The next round of census is scheduled for 2024 as it was postponed from 2021 due to the pandemic.

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