Print Friendly, PDF & Email

India to surpass China as the most populous country in a year: UN

Gs Paper-2

Syllabus: Issues related to population and poverty, UN, Government policies and interventions for developments of various social sectors etc


Source: Livemint, The Hindu


  • On World Population Day(11 July), the United Nations released a report (world population prospectus) projecting India to surpass China as the world’s most populous country next year.
  • It further stated that the world population is forecast to reach eight billion by mid-November 2022.
  • The forecast by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs said the world’s population is growing at its slowest pace since 1950.


Current Affairs


Key Highlights:

  • China and India most populous countries: According to World Population Prospects 2019, China with a 1. 44 billion population and India with 1.39 billion are the two most populous countries in the world, representing 19 and 18 per cent of the world’s population, respectively.
  • India taking over China: However, by around 2023, India’s population will overtake China to become the most populous country with China’s population projected to decrease by 31.4 million, or around 2.2 per cent, between 2019 and 2050.
  • Population to reach eight billion: The UN forecast also stated, that the world’s population is expected to reach eight billion.
  • Net drop in birth rates: While a net drop in birth rates is observed in several developing countries, more than half of the rise forecast in the world’s population in the coming decades will be concentrated in eight countries, the report said.
    • Eight countries are the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and Tanzania.
  • Challenge to SDGs: Many are projected to double in population between 2022 and 2050, putting additional pressure on resources and posing challenges to the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Older age population growth: The population of older persons is increasing both in numbers and as a share of the total.
  • Sustained drop in fertility: A sustained drop in fertility has led to an increased concentration of the population at working ages (between 25 and 64 years), creating an opportunity for accelerated economic growth per capita.
  • Migration: International migration is having an important impact on population trends in some countries.
    • Over the next few decades, migration will be the sole driver of population growth in high-income countries.
  • Coved-19: The Covid-19 pandemic has had significant demographic consequences affecting all components of population change, including mortality, fertility and migration.
  • Global life expectancy fell 1. 8 years between 2019 and 2021 due to excess mortality associated with the pandemic.
    • The impact of the pandemic on fertility is less clear-cut.


Comparison with India:


Current Affairs


  • In India, the Registrar General comes out with a population projection based on the Census.
  • The last such projection was released in 2019 and it was based on Census 2011.
  • The Census projection is slightly lower than the UN projection.
  • India’s fertility rate is expected to dip from 2. 01  presently to 1.78 in 2050 and 1.69 in 2100, compared to the global average of 2.3 at present.
  • The findings reveal that the positive number of births in India among women aged 15 to 19 might fall from the current 988,000 to 282,000 by 2050, and then to 132,000 by 2100.


Current Affairs


World Population Prospects:

●      The Population Division of the UN has been publishing the WPP in a biennial cycle since 1951.

●      Each revision of the WPP provides a historical time series of population indicators starting in 1950.

●      It does so by taking into account newly released national data to revise estimates of past trends in fertility, mortality or international migration.




Current Affairs


UN Economic and Social Council(ECOSOC):

●      It is the principal body for coordination, policy review, policy dialogue and recommendations on economic, social and environmental issues, as well as the implementation of internationally agreed development goals.

●      It has 54 members, elected by the General Assembly for overlapping three-year terms.

●      Few important bodies under the purview of ECOSOC:

○       International Labour Organization (ILO)

○       Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

○       United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

○       World Health Organization (WHO)

○       Bretton Woods Twins (World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund)

○       United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

●      Apart from these, there are various Functional and Regional Commissions, Standing Committees, and Ad Hoc and Expert Bodies as well.


Practice Questions:

Q. Despite Consistent experience of high growth, India still goes with the lowest indicators of human development. Examine the issues that make balanced and inclusive development elusive. (UPSC 2021)


Q. Which of the following is/are the principal UN organs?

  1. UN Security Council
  2. The Economic and Social Council
  3.  The Trusteeship Council and the Secretariat
  4. World Health Organization (WHO)

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

a. 1, 2 and 3 only

b. 2, 3 and 4 only

c. 1 and 2 only

d. 1, 2, 3 and 4

Ans: (a)


The United Nations (UN) has six main organs:

  • The General Assembly
  • The Security Council
  • The Economic and Social Council
  • The Trusteeship Council
  • The International Court of Justice