India becomes world’s most populous country with 142.86 crore people

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India has surpassed China to become the world’s most populous nation with 142.86 crore people, shows the latest United Nations data, even as UN projections estimate that the country’s population is expected to grow for the next three decades after which it will begin declining.

China now has a population of 142.57 crore, thus being the second most populous country, the UN world population dashboard showed.

Nearly 50 per cent of India’s population is below the age of 25 years, according to United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) India representative Andrea Wojnar.

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According to the UNFPA’s State of World Population (SWP) Report 2023, about 25 per cent of India’s population is in the age group of 0-14 years, 18 per cent in the 10 to 19 age group, 26 per cent in the age bracket of 10 to 24 years, 68 per cent in 15 to 64 years age group, and 7 per cent above 65 years.

Kerala and Punjab have an ageing population while Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have a young population, UN analysis has revealed.

This is the first time that India has topped the UN list of most populous countries since it started collecting population data in 1950. According to the United Nations’ World Population Prospects-2022, India’s population was 86.1 crore while China’s population was 114.4 crore in 1950.

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The report further states that by 2050, India’s population is expected to rise to 166.8 crore while China’s population would dip to 131.7 crore. The report also stated that the global population is growing at its slowest rate since 1950, having fallen under one per cent in 2020.

According to the World Population Prospects-2022, India’s population last year was 141.2 crore while China’s population was 142.6 crore. The report said the global population was projected to reach eight billion on November 15.

According to the UNFPA, the life expectancy at birth for male in India is 71 while for female it is 74 years. The contraceptive prevalence rate of women aged 15-49 by any method as of 2023 is 51 per cent.

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UN projections estimate that the country’s population is expected to grow for the next three decades after which it will begin declining.

‘By 2050, every fifth Indian will be an elderly person, hence planning for this segment also deserves equal attention. The health and economic security of the elderly will need to gain primacy,’ the UNFPA said.

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