Bangladesh population

Understand the implications of the latest UN population report

According to the United Nations World Population Prospects 2022 report, India will overtake China to become the most populous country in 2023. On July 1 next year, China’s population will reach 1.46 billion and India’s population will increase to 1.48 billion. just 0.02 billion more. This slight increase will make India the most populous country next year. According to this report, the world population will exceed 8 billion on November 15 and 10.4 billion by 2080. The report reveals that 50% of world population growth by 2060 will occur in eight countries: the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia. , India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines and United Republic of Tanzania.

The top ten countries by population in 2022 are China, India, United States of America, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Brazil, Bangladesh, Russian Federation, and Mexico. In 2050, China will move from first to second, Indonesia from fourth to sixth and Bangladesh from eighth to tenth. Meanwhile, the United States of America will remain the third most populous country, Pakistan the fifth and Brazil the seventh in 2022.

The number of people over 65 and their percentage are increasing in all countries. At 10% in 2022, this segment will increase to 16% in 2050. By then, their share will double that of the under-5s. Due to declining birth and fertility rates, in some developing countries, including India, the percentage of the population aged 25-64 will be higher within populations. Every government must design programs to maximize the demographic dividends of this age group.

The report reveals that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected three indicators: the average age, the birth rate and the number of migrants going abroad. In 2019, the global average age was 72.9 and fell to 71 in 2021. By 2050, the average age could rise to 77.2. The impact of COVID-19[feminine] the pandemic varied around the world. The average age of the population of Central and South Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean islands fell by three years between 2019 and 2021, while Australia and New Zealand increased by 1.2 year due to lower mortality rates.

In Bolivia, Botswana, Lebanon, Mexico, Oman and the Russian Federation, the average age fell by four years between 2019 and 2021. The birth rate in low- and middle-income countries remained almost stable . Birth rates around the world have already fallen dramatically. The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to this by limiting all forms of migration.

According to the report, the growth rate of the world’s population has been steadily declining since 2012. The population growth rate was 1.22% in 2012 and fell to 0.84% ​​in 2022. Although the world population increased by less than 1% over the last decade, it rose from 7 to 8 billion in the shortest period (11 years). The report indicates that the following billion increase will take place in 2038, 16 years from now. After that, the world’s population will begin to decline.

According to the report, China will remain the most populous country in the world for another year, after which India will drop from second to first. It is not a matter of pride to be the most populous nation but a matter of great concern because resources do not increase in proportion to population growth. The population of our country will reach 1.48 billion in 2023 and will exceed that of China, while the Chinese population, on the other hand, will begin to decline at the peak with 1.46 billion inhabitants. India’s population will start to decline after reaching 1.69 billion by 2064. By the end of the century, India’s population will decline to 1.53 billion and China’s to 0.77 billion, or less than half of India’s population.

How and why was China able to control its population and why did India fall behind? The population of China in 1950 was 540 million and that of India in 1951 was 361 million. At that time, the fertility rate in India was 5.9 and the fertility rate in China was 6.11. China’s population and fertility rate were higher than India’s in the 1950s. The government of India started the National Family Planning Program in 1952 to control the population, but China had not implemented any population control program at that time.

With rapid population growth, China launched a population control program in the 1970s under the slogan Late, Long, and Few, which reduced the fertility rate from 6.11 to 4.85 from 1970 to 1976. But even with this reduced fertility rate, China’s population was growing. , that it was very important for the Chinese government to control. As a result, the Chinese government strictly implemented the “one-child policy” in 1979. Although the policy was widely criticized around the world, China overcame population growth during the period from 1979 to 2015. In 2015, this program ended, allowing people to have two children, and in 2021, three children.

After the implementation of the “one-child policy”, China’s fertility rate fell to 2.52 in 1985, and 15 years later, in 2000, China’s fertility rate fell below the replacement rate (2.1) to 2.0. On the other hand, India, which started planning under the national family planning program to control the population in 1952, 27 years before China’s one-child policy (1979), has reached the rate of replacement in 2000. India’s fertility rate was 2.0, 21 years later than China. Five Indian states, Bihar (3.0), Meghalaya (2.9), Uttar Pradesh (2.7), Jharkhand (2.4) and Manipur (2.2), also have fertility rates above the rate of replacement in 2021.

Apart from the government’s national family planning program, the reason for the declining fertility rate in India is also the perception people have of small families. Although no one-child policy has been developed and enforced in India as in China, the National Family Health Survey-5 revealed that the fertility rate in the 29 states and union territories of the country is between 1.1 and 1.9. This is a positive aspect of the Indian government in controlling population growth. To curb India’s population growth, the Indian government must ensure public health services, female literacy and employment.

Increased public health services will reduce infant and maternal mortality rates. According to the National Family Health Survey-5, 11% of children still give birth at home and 24% of children are deprived of vaccines. Although reducing the fertility rate is an important aspect to control population growth, at the same time infant mortality also affects population growth. If a child dies prematurely, it will affect both fertility and birth rates, which will both increase because parents will always be afraid of not having a child. For the balanced development of children, their diet must be rich in nutrients. In India, 36% of children are underdeveloped due to lack of nutrients in their diet. For example, about 67% of children in the country are anemic.

Among the states in India with above-replacement fertility rates, three states: Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh, have very low female literacy rates. Bihar has 49.5%, Jharkhand 44.5% and Uttar Pradesh 42.8% illiterate women. There is a direct correlation between the fertility rate and the literacy rate. In states where female literacy rates, in particular, are high, birth and fertility rates are low. Therefore, the government should ensure the education and employment of girls to control population growth.

The report concludes that the percentage of the population aged 25 to 64 would be higher in developing countries. In India too, the percentage of the population in this age group is higher than the other two categories, namely under 25 and over 64. The government should offer as many job opportunities as possible to this part of the population. Thousands of educated young people migrate abroad every year due to the lack of job opportunities in the country. This international migration leads to brain drain, capital flight and loss of demographic dividend. China made such an arrangement in the country that almost every citizen gets a job according to his ability. China has taken full advantage of its large population to achieve a high rate of economic growth in the country. Our government should also take full advantage of this category (25-64 years old) to increase the economic development of the country by employing them according to their abilities.

To control population growth, the government should seriously implement the national family planning program. The Indian government does not have to strictly enforce the “one-child policy” like China, but provides guaranteed education and employment for its people. The successful implementation of family planning programs is an important indicator of economic development. With the benefits of economic growth, people are realizing and voluntarily reducing their family size considering the needs and facilities of family members. The government should educate people on the benefits of small families and provide quality jobs, free education for children, medical assistance as well as scholarships for small families. A path of economic development favorable to people and nature.

The author is a former professor in the Department of Geography, Punjabi University, Patiala. Opinions are personal.