India has surpassed China to become the world’s most populous country, according to data released by the United Nations today.
UN estimates show that India’s population is 142.86 crore compared to China’s 142.57 crore.
The number of people in China shrank last year for the first time as the Communist country has been registering a sharp decline in birth rates since Chinese families prefer to have fewer children.
Several regions in China have also announced plans to boost birth rates as the country faces a demographic problem due to an aging workforce. However, official efforts have so far failed to reverse the decline.
China has had the most people in the world since at least 1950, the year United Nations population data began. Both China and India combined are home to more than a third of the world’s 8 billion people.
India has no recent official data on how many people it has because it has not conducted a census since 2011.
The country’s once in a decade census was due to be held in 2021 but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Demographers at the U.N. Population Division make estimates based on projections from a wide variety of data sources to get what they believe are the most up-to-date demographic numbers.