India may have already overtaken China as the world’s most populous nation, an independent researcher suggested on Monday. Quoting numbers presented by the researcher, Financial Times reported that China’s actual population may have been 1.29 billion last year, which is way below 1.37 billion, the official figures quoted by the National Bureau of Statistics. As per the research, which was done by Yi Fuxian, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, China’s fertility rate could have been as low as 1.05. However, 2015 official estimates put China’s fertility rate at 1.6 children per woman. The report says that China’s population may have 90 million fewer people than previously believed.
If the calculations come out to be correct, that would mean that India has already surpassed China’s population. Last year, Indian government reported a population of 1.33 billion. However, the United Nations projected the same is likely to happen by 2022 at the earliest. Yi, a longtime critic of China’s “one-child policy,” which Beijing withdrew last year, believes that its official population statistics have been overstated for decades — a claim echoed by other researchers as well.
Yi further suggested that China had only 377.6 million new births from 1991 to 2016, far less than the official figure of 464.8 million. This claim ultimately means that China’s official population estimate, currently at 1.38 billion, is incorrect. China has seen a sharp drop in births due to stringent population control measures introduced by the government in 1979. However, as a repercussion of stringent measures, the country is now facing a population crisis as the number of working-age adults is falling as against proportion of elderly who rely on them.