India surpasses China to become most populous country: UN population estimate
Surpassing China, India has now become the most populous country in the world, mid-year estimates from a newly released United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) report on Wednesday (April 19) suggests. The data showed that India now has more (2.9 million more) population than China.
The data comes after the UN's World Population Prospects 2022 had projected India to surpass China as the world's most populous country in the mid of 2023.
The latest data by the UNFPA's "The State of World Population Report, 2023" stated that India's population is 1.4286 billion while China's stood at 1.4257 billion. The report is titled - "8 Billion Lives, Infinite Possibilities: The Case for Rights and Choices".
The UN agency defines 'Total Population' as the estimated size of the national population at mid-year. The UNFPA report underlined that in India, 25 per cent of the population constitutes children aged 0-14, whereas 18 per cent are those aged 10-19 years. The report further mentioned that 26 per cent belong to the 10-24 age group and about 68 per cent are in the 15-64 age category, while those above 65 are just 7 per cent.
As quoted by news agencies, Andrea Wojnar, the representative for UNFPA India, said in a statement: "The Indian survey findings suggest that population anxieties have seeped into large portions of the general public."
She added, "Yet, population numbers should not trigger anxiety or create alarm. Instead, they should be seen as a symbol of progress, development, and aspirations if individual rights and choices are being upheld."
Status of women in the country
The report also highlighted the issues of women's decreased right to bodily autonomy. According to the SWOP report, 44 per cent of partnered women and girls in 68 reporting countries do not have the right to make informed decisions about their bodies on matters of sex, contraception and seeking health care. Close to 257 million women worldwide have an unmet need for safe, reliable contraception.
Poonam Muttreja, Executive Director at Population Foundation of India, said in a statement: "So many women lack control over their bodies, including the right to have children - to decide when they want to have them and how many."
The UNFPA has recommended that governments must create policies with "gender equality and rights at their heart, such as parental leave programmes, child tax credits, policies that promote gender equality in the workplace, and universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights."