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Decoding India’s population conundrum

GS Paper 1

Syllabus: Population and Associated Issues


Source: TH

 Direction:  This is from ‘The Hindu Podcast’, it discusses the advantages and disadvantages of India becoming the world’s most populous nation in 2023.


Context: 2023 is set to be a landmark year for India’s population trajectory, as the country is predicted to overtake China to become the world’s most populous nation.



  • According to the UN World Population Prospects 2022, India is projected to overtake China as the world’s most populous country in
  • India’s population stands at 412 billion in 2022 and is projected to have a population of 1.668 billion in 2050.
  • India is expected to reach 1,428.6 million in 2023. On the other hand, China’s population fell to 1,411.8 million in 2022 (from 1,412.6 million in 2021).


Implications for India:

Positive Negative
●        India will continue to have one of the world’s youngest populations until 2030.

●        Currently, in a demographic window of opportunity – a “youth bulge,” that will last until 2025 (median age in India – 28.7 years, 38.4 – in China, 48.6 – in Japan).

●        Thus, prospects to reap the demographic dividend – share of the working-age population will peak at 57% towards the mid-2030s.

●        More working-age population → more tax revenues → savings potential will increase → high growth rate.

●        A relatively lower number of those needing care such as the elderly and young children.

●        Lack of policies for education, skilling and health in place.

●        Vast underemployment among educated youths.

●        In the absence of meaningful opportunities for the youth, the demographic dividend → demographic nightmare.

●        Uneven population growth. For example, some Southern states have populations that age faster than some northern States.


Way ahead:

  • India must shift its lens from ‘population control’ topopulation development’.
  • For this, India must frame policies and strategies to effectively unleash the full potential of its young people.


Conclusion: India is not fully utilizing its demographic dividend, which refers to the economic advantage of having a large working-age population. To fully reap the benefits, India must create high-quality jobs and equip its young, skilled workforce to fill them.


Insta Links:

China’s population drops for the first time in 60 years: How this happened, road ahead

The Population Paradox