India Passed China in Population Last Year: Data

It has long been expected that China’s population would soon begin declining and India would become the world’s most populated nation. Most recently, this was expected to happen in 2023. But it appears to have surely happened in 2022.

The new population estimate released by China’s National Bureau of Statistics indicates a loss of 850,000 to a population of 1,411,750,000 in 2022. India’s 2022 population has not been announced, but it is clear that it will be greater than that of China. In 2021, India’s population was 1,407,560,000, according to the World Bank. In 2021, India added 11.2 million residents, down from 13.3 million from 2020 to 2021. The United Nations has projected a gain of 9.5 million for India in 2022.

It seems likely that India’s population increased at least by the 9.5 million projected by the United Nations in 2022. This would give India a population of at least 1,417,000,000 in 2022, more than 5,000,000 above the population of China (Figure).

It is hard to imagine any circumstance that would prevent India’s 2022 population from exceeding that of China. COVID deaths, for example, have been only 530,000 since the beginning of the pandemic, so that the 2022 death toll could not reduce the projected gain by much.

India’s population pre-eminence awaits final confirmation with the official 2022 population estimates.

Wendell Cox is principal of Demographia, an international public policy firm located in the St. Louis metropolitan area. He is a founding senior fellow at the Urban Reform Institute, Houston, a Senior Fellow with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy in Winnipeg and a member of the Advisory Board of the Center for Demographics and Policy at Chapman University in Orange, California. He has served as a visiting professor at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers in Paris. His principal interests are economics, poverty alleviation, demographics, urban policy and transport. He is co-author of the annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey and author of Demographia World Urban Areas.

Mayor Tom Bradley appointed him to three terms on the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission (1977-1985) and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich appointed him to the Amtrak Reform Council, to complete the unexpired term of New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman (1999-2002). He is author of War on the Dream: How Anti-Sprawl Policy Threatens the Quality of Life and Toward More Prosperous Cities: A Framing Essay on Urban Areas, Transport, Planning and the Dimensions of Sustainability.