Recently, the United Nations (UN) revealed that the population of the planet has reached 8 billion – a number that is shocking and unimaginable to many. With this announcement, a lot of conversations surrounding populations and whether 8 billion means the population is at a good number or whether the population of the world is slowly going into a decline had started.
Among all of these discussions, one of the more interesting topics being discussed is the population of each country, which country has the most people, and how those numbers will change in the future. When densely populated countries are discussed, we all know that the most populated country in the world is China.
Statistics show that for hundreds of years the country with the highest population has been China with the current population of China standing at a staggering 1.4 billion or 18.47 percent of the world’s population.
And while it might be beyond imaginable for many of us to even imagine such a big percentage of the world’s population belonging to one country, what’s even more shocking is India is close to surpassing these numbers to become the most densely populated country of the world by 2023 according to the UN.
According to the UN, India will surpass the Chinese population by April 2023. Even with China having an economic advantage, the growing population in India is the sole contributor to the country being in the run for the most densely populated country by next year. With the country being expected to contribute to more than a sixth of the world’s population of working age by 2025, one of the questions many have is exactly how the Indian population is growing so rapidly even with the economic disadvantages compared to China.
One Child Policy
While both countries took drastic measures to control their rapidly growing populations, one of the most well-known measures taken is the ‘one child’ policy that was carried out by China. The Chinese Government viewed the increasing population in China at that time as too rapid following the famine in 1951-1961 and as a result of this came the population control policies.
The ‘one child’ policy was carried out from 1980-2016, and while this is the more famous method, this was not the method that helped control the country’s population. A lesser-known method “later, longer, fewer” campaign that was carried out in China during the same time period encouraged families to get married later in life, leave longer gaps between each child they had and encouraged them to have fewer children in general.
This method not only helped control the Chinese population but greatly contributed to the country’s economic boost as parents were now able to invest more in their children as there were fewer of them to house, feed and educate. While these were much-needed steps and they provided a great economic advantage to the country at the time, the drawbacks of these measures are starting to show now as the population is slowly turning into an ageing population and the country’s overall population is slowly decreasing as the younger generation has become more hesitant to have kids.
Steps that were taken by India and how it failed
Even though China is famous for taking measures against its fast-growing population, India also took some measures to control the country’s population — and these measures were arguably much more strict that the one-child policy or any other policies implemented by China.
While India was the first country to introduce family planning on a national scale back in the 1950s, the forceful nature of the steps taken by the country might be the reason why the campaigns and steps taken failed so easily. During India’s ex-Prime Minister Indira Gandi’s era mass sterilization campaigns were carried out rather forcefully as men were forced into vasectomies with the threat of losing their jobs or getting their salaries docked unless they followed through with the orders. The biggest victims of this sterilization campaign were poor men who often slept in the railway stations as policemen directly nabbed them into getting rather unsafe vasectomies done.
Even with such unimaginable measures being carried out, shockingly enough the Indian population did not slow down, however, the country’s fertility rate gradually slowed down.
Even with the economic disadvantage such as less schooling and only half of the country’s working population being in the workforce, the population in the country continues to grow and is expected to overthrow China in just a few months.