China has the most people of any nation, at about 1.3 billion. India runs a close second, with about 1.2 billion people. That means 36% of the world (2.5 out of 6.8 billion people) live in either India or China. According to most projections, India will soon pass China:
[For perspective on how huge these two countries are, consider that there are more students in the top 25% of China than there are total students in the United States, with a population of about 310 million, or point-3 billion.]
I did not, however, realize how young India is (roughly half its population is under age 25!), until I read India Tries Using Cash Bonuses to Slow Birthrates in the New York Times. The article describes how youth is the key factor that will allow India to pass China reasonably soon.
With almost 1.2 billion people, India is disproportionately young; roughly half the population is younger than 25. This “demographic dividend” is one reason some economists predict that India could surpass China in economic growth rates within five years. India will have a young, vast work force while a rapidly aging China will face the burden of supporting an older population.
But if youth is India’s advantage, the sheer size of its population poses looming pressures on resources and presents an enormous challenge for an already inefficient government to expand schooling and other services. In coming decades, India is projected to surpass China as the world’s most populous nation, and the critical uncertainty is just how populous it will be. Estimates range from 1.5 billion to 1.9 billion people, and Indian leaders recognize that that must be avoided.
Those interested in more details should check out the article.
When I read the article, however, it had a different title. I guess it’s okay for the New York Times to change its headlines, but the two pictures below show the ever-changing nature of the web. At least the URL remained the same 🙂
First, here’s the version I saw (which I happened to screen capture for my students), followed by the way it now shows up: