India now the country with the largest population: social services more difficult to arrange 19:20 Abroad The United Nations estimates that more than 1.4 billion people live in the South Asian country. Many people move to the city for work, which puts great pressure on cities.

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Perhaps the baby with which India overtook China was born on Tuesday
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  • Fleur Kleinhuis

    foreign editor

The time has come: India overtakes China as the country with the largest population. The United Nations estimates that more than 1.4 billion people live in the South Asian country. 1 in 5 people in the world is Indian.

There is no exact date on which India will overtake China. The last time the country counted the number of inhabitants was in 2011. Geographer Robbin Jan van Duijne of Columbia University in New York often works with this data from India. “Normally, population data is collected once every ten years. So it had to be done again in 2021, but that was canceled due to covid. Now there is no time planned for the collection to take place.”

The census is about more than just keeping track of the number of people living in the country, says Van Duijne. “A lot of policy is based on the data from the population census, the census. All kinds of decision-making is geared to this, for example welfare policy. That is now based on data from 2011. In those thirteen years, roughly 250 million people have been added. therefore no longer in line with the actual population numbers.”

Big differences

Van Duijne does not find it surprising that India is catching up with China. In absolute numbers, the Indian birth rate is very high, in China it is decreasing.

But the birth rate is not high throughout India, Ajay Bailey, professor of demography at Utrecht University, nuances. He conducts research on the Indian population.

“The growth is mainly taking place in the north of India. In Kerala, a city in the south, for example, the fertility rate is falling. India is very large, despite those large differences, you still end up with population growth with the average .”

“The young population, early marriage and little access to contraception are driving population growth,” Bailey says. “But that is slowly changing. Policies have been made to allow girls and women to go to school. As a result, women participate in the labor market, postpone marriage and have fewer children.”

One of the challenges India faces due to its large population is the provision of social services, Bailey says. “Health care, education, employment and equal opportunities are difficult to arrange for so many people.”

“In addition, many people migrate from the countryside to the big cities to work, where there are not enough places for them to stay. The pressure on the cities is great.”

Nieuwsuur made a series about population growth, entitled ‘The world in 2100’:

The Population Explosion: Where Will It End?

Since the 1950s, the UN has been tracking the number of people per country, and China has always been at the forefront. India is not only catching up with China by adding more Indians, but China’s population is declining after 60 years of growth since last year.

This is partly due to the one-child policy. It was introduced in 1979 because the Communist Party then saw the growing population as a threat to economic and social stability in the country. As a result, the country has relatively few young people and an old population.

In 2015, the government reversed this and the one-child policy was abolished.

With its young population, India has an advantage over China’s aging population. Bailey: “A young population can respond more easily to technology and innovation. If the right environment is created, for example with employment, then India can make use of the demographics and contribute to economic growth.”

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  • Abroad

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