China is no longer the most populous country

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According to the United Nations, the time will come this month: India will replace China as the world’s most populous country.

India will replace China as the world’s most populous country before the end of April, according to a new United Nations forecast. By the end of the month, India will have a population of 1.425 billion, catching up with and subsequently overtaking the People’s Republic, the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs (Desa) announced Monday.

Just last week, another UN report predicted that India would be the world’s most populous country by mid-year.

Because reliable data is lacking, experts say it is impossible to give an exact date. India may already be the frontrunner, demographers speculate.

China has been the country with the most inhabitants since at least 1950. That year, United Nations figures on population were compiled for the first time. India has not had a census since 2011. Both there and China, however, are home to more than 1.4 billion people, so together, the two nations account for more than a third of the world’s eight billion inhabitants.

China, however, has an aging population and an increasingly low birth rate, although the government abandoned its one-child policy seven years ago. According to UN estimates, China’s population could fall below one billion by the end of the century.

In contrast, India’s population is much younger and has more children. The country has also reduced infant mortality over the past 30 years. At the same time, however, the birth rate has been falling steadily, from more than five births per woman in 1960 to just over two in 2020, according to data from the World Bank.

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