Bangladesh performs better than India on most parameters tracked by the UN’s World Population Prospects 2022, but is worse on one. Only one of the ten, the United States, is a developed economy while four others – Russia, Brazil, Mexico and China – are classified by the UN as upper-middle-income countries. The others all belong to the lower middle income bracket.
Regarding the average childbearing age, Bangladesh has the lowest average age among the ten countries. While India’s indicators are worse than the world record for most indicators, it has brought its infant and under-5 mortality rates below the world average.
The decline in life expectancy at birth is most often due to high infant and under-five mortality. However, in the case of countries like Indonesia, India and Russia, even at age 15, the life expectancy is only 54.4, 54.7 and 54.9 respectively. Similarly, a person who has managed to reach 65 can expect to live only 12.7 years longer in India and only 12.1 more in Indonesia. These are the lowest with the exception of Nigeria (11.1).
Furthermore, among these 10 countries, Bangladesh is the most densely populated, with 1,301 inhabitants per km², followed by India (473.4 inhabitants per km²) then Pakistan (300.2 inhabitants per km²). Russia is the least densely populated, only 8.9 per km².
While differential income levels between the ten most populous countries could explain much of these patterns, the fact that Bangladesh, with a significantly lower GDP per capita based on purchasing power parity (PPP) than India, $6,613 versus India’s $7,333.5, did better on most metrics shows that it’s not just about whether a country is rich or poor. Nigeria with the lowest GDP per capita based on PPP in this group at just $5,459.2 and Pakistan at $5,877.6 have the worst indexes. Although Indonesia is in the lower middle income category, its GDP per capita based on PPP is $12,904.3, well above the others.