India, the second most populous country in the world, is projected to become the world’s most populous by overtaking China by 2027, as per a report released by the UN on Monday, June 17. The report 2019 Revision of World Population Aspects is the twenty-sixth round of official United Nations population estimates and projections that have been prepared by the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat.
According to the report, India is expected to add nearly 273 million between 2019 and 2050, while the global population is set to increase by 2 billion in the next thirty years, from 7.7 billion currently to 9.7 billion (26% increase) in 2050.
Along with India, Nigeria is projected to grow by 200 million. “Together, these two countries could account for 23% of the global population increase to 2050,” the report stated.
The report also estimated that the ranking of the five most populous countries will remain the same till the end of the century, following India surpassing China’s population in 2027. “India is expected to remain the world’s most populous country with nearly 1.5 billion inhabitants, followed by China at 1.1 billion, Nigeria with 733 million, the United States with 434 million, and Pakistan with an estimated population of 403 million,” The Indian Express reported.
Meanwhile, it has been estimated that 55 countries will see their populations shrink by at least 1% from 2019 to 2050, of which 26 may see a reduction of at least ten per cent. In China, for example, the population is projected to decrease by 31.4 million, or 2.2%, between 2019 and 2050. The Indian Express reported that, “This trend of a growing number of countries experiencing a decline in population has been attributed to sustained low levels of fertility and, in some cases, high rates of emigration.”
Another finding highlighted by the report is that the world’s population is growing older, with increasing life expectancy and falling fertility levels. It has been estimated that by 2050, one in six people in the world will be over the age of 65, up from one in 11 in 2019. The number of persons aged 80 years or over is projected to triple, from 143 million in 2019 to 426 million in 2050.
UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Liu Zhenmin said the report offers a roadmap indicating where to target action and interventions. He said, "Many of the fastest growing populations are in the poorest countries, where population growth brings additional challenges in the effort to eradicate poverty, achieve greater equality, combat hunger and malnutrition and strengthen the coverage and quality of health and education systems to ensure that no one is left behind."