Revised UN estimates show India’s population could overtake China’s sooner than expected, and have more young and working age people with improved life expectancy
India could become more populated than China by 2028, much sooner than expected, according to United Nations report titled World Population Prospects: The 2012 Revision, released this Friday.
The projected changes in the population demographics over this century once again underscore India’s potential manpower advantage over its rival Asian giant China. But can India overcome its growing challenges and seize its moment?
United Nations population projections show China’s population will start declining in the 2030s, but India’s will continue to grow till 2060s. This will throw up serious socio-economic sustainability challenges for India, but at the same time also offer strength in terms of sheer numbers.
Population (in millions) between 1950 and 2100. Take mouse over lines in graph for more details
Nearly 62.6 per cent of India’s present population is between 15 years and 59 years, while the corresponding figure for China is 68.1 per cent. By 2050, the number of people in this age group in China will drop substantially to 52.5 per cent. By contrast, at 62.2 per cent in 2050, India would have maintained its present day percentage.
Percentage of total population between 15 and 59 years
With a median age of 26.4 years as of this year, India’s population is much younger than China’s (35.4 years). The median marks the point where half the population is older than that age and half is younger. By 2050, India’s median population is expected to increase to 36.7 years, still it will be only as much as what China reports today.
Present and projected median age of population
According to the population projections, India would continue to narrow its average life expectancy gap with China over the coming decades. In fact, India is projected to increase life expectancy at a rate faster than that of many big economies.
Average life expectancy at birth