By Arul Louis
United Nations: In seven years Indians will cross the 1.44 billion mark and the nation will go on to have a bigger population than China, according to a UN report.
‘The World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision’ report released on Wednesday recorded two other dramatic facts: The fertility rate of Indians has more than halved over the last 50 years to 2.3 and Indians have added almost a decade to their life expectancy in the past 25 year which is now nearly 69 years.
“In roughly seven years, the population of India is expected to surpass that of China,” the report said, calling it a notable finding.
“In 2024, both countries are expected to have roughly 1.44 billion,” which will be an increase from 1.34 billion people in India now and 1.41 in China, the report said.
“Thereafter, India’s population is projected to continue growing for several decades to around 1.5 billion in 2030, and approaching 1.66 billion in 2050, while the population of China is expected to remain stable until the 2030s, after which it will begin a slow decline.”
After 2050, India’s population is likely to stabilise and begin to decline, going down to 1.5 billion by 2100, according to the report’s projection.
By then, China’s population would be a little over one billion.
The total fertility rate for India, measured as the number of children born to a woman, has fallen from 4.97 during 1975-80 to 2.3 for the current period of 2015-20.
By 2025-30 it was expected to go down to 2.1 and slide to 1.86 during 2045-50 and 1.78 during 2095-2100, the report projected.
A fertility rate of about 2.2 is generally considered the replacement level, the rate at which the population would hold steady, and when the rate dips below this number, the population would decline.
During 1990-1995 life expectancy for Indians was 59.2 years and during the current period of 2015-20, it has reached 68.9 years.
The current world population of 7.6 billion is projected to hit 8.6 billion by 2030, 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion at the turn of the century.
(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected])