India is about to surpass China as world’s most populous country, UN report finds

India is expected to surpass China as the world’s most populous country in 2023, according to a new report released by the United Nations on Monday.

“This year’s World Population Day [11 July] falls during a milestone year, when we anticipate the birth of the Earth’s eight billionth inhabitant,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said.

“This is an occasion to celebrate our diversity, recognise our common humanity, and marvel at advancements in health that have extended lifespans and dramatically reduced maternal and child mortality rates.

“At the same time, it is a reminder of our shared responsibility to care for our planet and a moment to reflect on where we still fall short of our commitments to one another,” he added.

According to the report, the two most populous regions in 2022 were both in Asia: eastern and southeastern Asia with 2.3 billion people (29 per cent of the global population), and central and southern Asia with 2.1 billion (26 per cent).

“China and India, with more than 1.4 billion each, accounted for most of the population in these two regions,” the report said.

“India is projected to surpass China as the world’s most populous country in 2023,” it added.

It added that global population increase up to 2050 will be concentrated in eight countries – the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and Tanzania.

Meanwhile, 46 of the least developed countries are among the world’s fastest-growing, it said.

“Many are projected to double in population between 2022 and 2050, putting additional pressure on resources and posing challenges to the achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs).”

The report added that global population could grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030, and hit 9.7 billion by 2050.