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Fact of the Week: India’s Population Is Set To Overtake China’s This Month

Fact of the Week: India’s Population Is Set To Overtake China’s This Month

April 24, 2023

Source: Shan Li and Liyan Qi, “India’s Population Surpasses China’s, Shifting the World’s ‘Center of Gravity,’” The Wall Street Journal, April 14, 2023.

Commentary: The United Nations estimates that India’s population will reach 1.429 billion at the end of 2023, compared to China’s estimated population of 1.426 billion. India’s population is thus projected to surpass that of China, and many demographers estimate that this will take place this month (if it has not already). China’s population has already peaked, and its working-age population has been in decline since 2012. Meanwhile, India’s population is not expected to peak until 2063 at around 1.7 billion people.

Continued population growth will make India an increasingly important player on the world stage, both economically and militarily. India also overtook the United Kingdom as the fifth-largest economy in 2021, despite having only one-twentieth the gross domestic product per capita. Moreover, China’s shrinking working-age population will drive up wages, which, in conjunction with increased political risks, will lead companies to decouple from China and move production to countries like India. However, India must overcome obstacles such as poor infrastructure and restrictions on foreign investment to spur such a transition.

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