According to the United Nations, India has surpassed China to become the world’s most populated country as of April 2023.
China’s population has begun to decline, whereas India’s population is anticipated to expand until 2064.
While China conducted the 10-year census in 2020, India postponed the 10-year census scheduled for 2021 due to the COVID-19 epidemic.
The results for India are based on estimations and expectations rather than official data because the New Delhi administration plans to hold the census in 2024.
In the early 1970s, China and India had similar fertility rates. In China, the healthy birth rate per woman was 5.8 and in India, it was 5.5. By the end of the 1970s, China’s birth rate had dropped to 2.7, while India’s remained high at 4.8.
The fall in birth rates in China was more quick due to population control programs, whereas it took longer in India. While China had one of the lowest fertility rates in the world in 2022, with 1.2 births per woman, India still has 2.0 births per woman, which is barely below the replacement criterion of 2.1.
China’s population growth rate declined faster than India’s, falling from 2.6% in 1970 to less than 1% in 1994. India’s population growth rate in 1970 was 2.2%, less than China’s, and it is expected to fall to less than 1% by 2021.
While China’s population is expected to peak in 2022, India’s population is expected to peak in 2064. In the modern era, where life expectancy is growing and families are shrinking, the two countries take dramatically divergent courses in terms of demographic change.
Different approaches to population policy have had an impact on the age distribution of the population over time.
Since the 1970s, China’s fertility rate has been rapidly declining, resulting in a lower proportion of the population under 25 years old than in India. China’s 25-to-64-year-old population is approximately double that of India’s under-25 population, although being only 20% larger.
While the rapid increase in China’s middle-aged working-age population has been the engine of rapid economic growth, this group is likely to diminish in the coming years due to population decline in general.
In India, on the other hand, it is expected that the working-age population would change more slowly and will continue to contribute positively to economic growth until the middle of this century, owing to the country’s enormous young population.
According to UN figures, the population over the age of 65 will more than quadruple in China between 2023 and 2050, and this condition may place a strain on countries’ health and social insurance systems.
In China, the population over the age of 65 accounts for 14% of the overall population, whereas in India it accounts for 7%. By 2050, these rates will have reached 30% in China and 15% in India.