India's population is expected to surpass China's surprisingly soon

India will reach its population peak in 2065.
Nergis Firtina
Crowd in India.
Crowd in India.

Sumit Saraswat/iStock 

India is the second most populous country in the world. With 1,414 billion, it comes right after China. However, contrary to China's population-reducing policy, India's population is increasing and seems to surpass China in a few decades.

As BBC reported, China reduced its population growth rate by about half, from two percent in 1973 to 1.1 percent in 1983. According to demographers, much of this was accomplished by trampling on human rights. In a country that was predominately rural, vastly ignorant, and impoverished, two different programs that encouraged only one child and later marriages, longer gaps between children, and fewer of them, were successful.

On the other hand, India saw significant population growth of almost two percent annually in the second half of the 20th century. As Tim Dyson, a demographer at the London School of Economics, explained to BBC, that's because death rates decreased, and life expectancy and incomes increased, but the birth rate remained high. India will reach its population peak in 2065.

Why couldn't population growth be prevented?

We mentioned that improving the quality of life in India plays a big role in increasing the population. India started a family planning program in 1952 but didn't establish a national population policy until 1976, right when China was working to lower its birth rate.

India's population is expected to surpass China's surprisingly soon
Indian population is growing day by day.

Since India gained its independence in 1947, more than a billion people have been added, and a further 40 years of population growth are anticipated. But despite grave forecasts of a "demographic apocalypse," the country's population growth rate has been flat for several decades.

India's forced sterilization

India tried the method of forced sterilization of men in the 1970s, but this practice was abandoned due to anger. The country stopped setting targets for sterilization in 1996, but human rights organizations say this practice continues at the local level.

The national government developed an incentive scheme for a family planning campaign that started in 1976 in an effort to reduce the population's exponential growth, stopping short of compulsory sterilization. This initiative targeted male people and used financial incentives and propaganda to persuade underprivileged individuals to get sterilized. Land, houses, money, or loans would be given to those who consented to sterilization.

Most Popular

Was China's one-child policy helpful?

The one-child policy, which China instituted between 1980 and 2015, was a population control measure designed to slow down population growth by limiting many families to one child.

This policy, which lasted over 50 years and included strict penalties for non-compliance, minimum marriage and childbearing ages, two-child limits for many couples, minimum intervals between births, and intense surveillance, was a component of a much larger attempt to slow population growth.

China abolished the one-child policy in 2021. In the last ten years, the average annual birth rate in the country has been 0.53 percent. However, this rate was 0.57 percent between 2000 and 2010. The results of the ten-year census have also increased the pressure on the Chinese government to take measures to encourage more childbearing.