Wednesday, June 19, 2019


It has been something of an old lesson in basic Asian history for schools. When the subject of China is brought up, the rote memorization states that it is the most populous country in the world. It had gotten to the point that the Communist government instituted a policy of one child per family to curb that growth. Next point, thus far the only nation that could keep up with Chinese population growth had been India. But these rudimentary lessons may soon become obsolete. Current trends in population growth and decline would see China soon to give up its global population title to its neighbor.

CNN reports that judging from data compiled in the 2019 World Population Prospects report by the United Nations (UN), before the next decade of the 21st Century is out China will soon be outnumbered in population count by India. So far the two countries combined make up for roughly 37% of the global population, with China at 1.4 billion and India at 1.3 billion. Unfortunately a significant drop in Chinese population growth, combined with a runaway explosion of the same in India, would see the latter have more inhabitants no later than the year 2027.

Based on statistics found in the UN World Population Prospects which released this Monday, June 17, China has a projected 2.2% shrinkage in population, which would around 31.4 million Chinese people dying without newborns to replace them. Between 2019 to mid-century in 2050, the total population of China could plummet from 1.4 billion to 1.1 billion, by which point India’s growth would be pushing 1.5 billion. These growths are able to offset the projected 1% shrinkage of inhabitants forecast for 55 countries around the world. In fact, come 2050 the global population would be at a mind-blowing 9.7 billion, compared to the 2.6 billion world population in 1950 when the United Nations itself was founded.

Studies made by the UN for the World Population Prospects report was done by observing trends in country demographics and patterns of fertility (how often are new people born in a country), mortality (how many in a country’s population are expected to die off due to age, sickness, or violence), and migration (the trend of people moving from one country to another). China’s population drop is attributed to the rising cost of living for population centers, discouraging many Chinese from starting families. It was this trend that spurred the government to cancel the infamous One-Child policy, but so far the measure has not been effective.

In terms of other top countries in population, longtime third-placer the United States (434 million) is expected to be overtaken by Nigeria (733 million) in 2050. Pakistan remains fifth place.

Image from Nikkei Asian Review


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