India is projected to surpass China as the world’s most populous country next year, according to a report by the United Nations on Monday which said that the world population is forecast to reach eight billion by mid-November 2022.
The World Population Prospects 2022 by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, said that the global population is projected to reach eight billion on November 15, 2022.
The global population is growing at its slowest rate since 1950, having fallen under one per cent in 2020. The latest projections by the United Nations suggest that the world’s population could grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030 and 9.7 billion in 2050.
China and India accounted for the largest populations in these regions, with more than 1.4 billion each in 2022.
More than half of the projected increase in global population up to 2050 will be concentrated in just eight countries of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and Tanzania.
According to the report, India’s population stands at 1.412 billion in 2022, compared to China’s 1.426 billion.
India, which will surpass China as the world’s most populous nation by 2023, is projected to have a population of 1.668 billion in 2050, way ahead of China’s 1.317 billion people by the middle of the century.
The report added that it is estimated that ten countries experienced a net outflow of more than one million migrants between 2010 and 2021.
In many of these countries, these outflows were due to temporary labour movements, such as for Pakistan (net outflow of -16.5 million during 2010-2021), India (-3.5 million), Bangladesh (-2.9 million), Nepal (-1.6 million) and Sri Lanka (-1 million).
In other countries, including the Syrian Arab Republic (-4.6 million), Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) (-4.8 million), and Myanmar (-1 million), insecurity and conflicts have driven the net outflow of migrants over the decade.
Global life expectancy at birth reached 72.8 years in 2019, an improvement of almost 9 years since 1990. Further reductions in mortality are projected to result in an average global longevity of around 77.2 years in 2050.
Yet in 2021, life expectancy for the least developed countries lagged 7 years behind the global average.
Alternative long-term population projections have also been undertaken by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).
In its recent projections, IHME projected that the global population will reach 8.8 billion in 2100 with a range of 6.8 billion to 11.8 billion.
The main difference between the projections released by IHME and the United Nations lies in the assumptions on the future level of fertility.
The report said that IHME projects that the global level of fertility will decline faster than under the United Nations medium scenario.
According to IHME, the average number of children per woman will decline to 1.66 children at the end of the century while the United Nations projects fertility to be around 1.84 at the same date.
In India, IHME projects a total fertility rate of 1.29 births per woman in 2100 instead of 1.69 in the United Nations medium scenario, resulting in a population that is 433 million smaller than according to the United Nations projections at the end of the century.
The share of the global population at ages 65 and above is projected to rise from 10 per cent in 2022 to 16 per cent in 2050.
At that point, it is expected that the number of persons aged 65 years or over worldwide will be more than twice the number of children under age 5 and about the same as the number under age 12.
Impact of Covid-19
The report noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has affected all three components of population change. Global life expectancy at birth fell to 71.0 years in 2021.
In some countries, successive waves of the pandemic may have produced short-term reductions in numbers of pregnancies and births, while for many other countries, there is little evidence of an impact on fertility levels or trends. The pandemic severely restricted all forms of human mobility, including international migration.