July 31, 2019

India projected to be the most populous country in the world by 2027

India will soon overtake China to become the most populous country in the world.

China has been the world's most populous country for a long time. Back in 1750, it had a population of 225 million, around 28 percent of the world population1. Today, China and India account for about 37 percent of the entire global population of roughly 7.7 billion, with China currently home to about 1.4 billion people and India 1.3 billion.

According to the latest UN 2019 World Population Prospects, by 2027, India will have more people than China, and by 2050 the gap is expected to have increased even further.

Another startling revelation is that between 2019 and 2050, 55 countries or areas are expected to see their populations decrease by at least one percent, according to the UN report, mostly due to low-levels of fertility and in some cases, high numbers of emigration. By 2050, the report predicts the planet's entire population will be 9.7 billion people, a staggering rise in just one century. The indications are that nine countries will make up more than half the projected growth of the global population between now and 2050. These countries are India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, the United Republic of Tanzania, Indonesia, Egypt and USA.

Besides India overtaking China, the UN report said Nigeria will be the third most populous country by 2050 with an estimated 733 million people, overtaking the United States, which will fall to fourth place with a population of 434 million. Pakistan will remain the world's fifth largest country in terms of population.

1 Population data from Clio Infra estimate's China's population to have been 225 million in 1750. The world population at this time was estimated to be 811 million. China would therefore have accounted for 28 percent of the world total. In the few centuries prior to the 1700s, China and India had similar population sizes and growth rates.