World’s most populous countries revealed

UN predicts continental shift in global population
World’s most populous countries revealed
World's population is growing

India is now the most populous country in the world, according to the United Nations, with 1.4 bn people.

The South Asian nation has surpassed China with the highest population as of April this year, with about 12 percent of the world’s current population of 8 bn people.

Most populous countries

According to Statista, besides India and China, the most populous countries in the world include the US, Indonesia, and Pakistan. The rest in the top ten are Nigeria, Brazil, Bangladesh, Russia, and Mexico.

The data is based on the UN’s population estimates in 2023. By 2100, the top five most populous countries in the world would be India, China, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Congo.

Challenges and opportunities

In a recent article published as part of World Population Day, Statista’s Felix Richer says India’s growing population will come with a new set of challenges. “These challenges include providing access to healthcare, education, and employment opportunities to an ever-growing number of people, all while finding its role in the global political and economic landscape,” he explained.

These challenges will be aggravated as India’s population continues to grow in the next few decades. In addition, the UN estimates that India’s ageing population will be a key concern.

According to the UN’s Future of the World policy brief, the number of persons aged 65 or over is expected to more than double in India between 2023 and 2050. As such, it will pose significant challenges to healthcare and social insurance services.

However, India’s growing population can likewise be an asset for its growing economy. Goldman Sachs has predicted that India’s economy will be the second largest in 2075, primarily driven by its burgeoning population.

Read: India’s economy to become world’s second-largest by 2075, says Goldman Sachs

Continental shift

Meanwhile, Richter says the world will see a continental shift in population growth over the next few decades, citing UN statistics. He continued by saying, “With Europe’s population already declining and Asia’s and Latin America’s growth expected to turn negative in the 2050s, Africa is set to be the largest driver of global population growth for decades to come.”

Still according to UN data, Richter says five African nations are expected to join India, China, and the United States as among the world’s 10 most populous countries by 2100. Nigeria is expected to take the lead on the population front in Africa, with its population expected to reach half a billion before 2080.

“This demographic shift at the global level will require new approaches to managing resources, promoting sustainable development, and addressing issues such as poverty, inequality and access to healthcare and education,” Richter added.

As the world’s population continues to undergo a massive shift, the UN recommends “taking into account future population trends in national development planning as essential for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.” Its policy brief says issues related to poverty, food security, health, education, gender equality, decent work, inequality, urbanization and the environment must be addressed to ensure no one is left behind.

World Population Day is celebrated annually on 11 July. It seeks to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues.

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