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China might not be the most populous country in the world by 2024

NEW DELHI -- Even though China's size is approximately thrice of India, India's could surpass that of China around 2024, two years later than previously estimated, according to a new U.N. forecast.

Currently, China with 1.41 billion population and India with 1.34 billion remain the two most populous countries, comprising 19 and 18 per cent of the total global population, according to the U.N. report. And in about seven years, or around 2024, the population of India is expected to surpass that of China.

According to the U.N. estimates after 2024 India's population is projected to continue growing for several decades to around 1.5 billion in 2030 and approaching 1.66 billion in 2050, while the population of China is projected to remain stable until the 2030s, after which it may report a slow decline.

The report by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs' Population Division forecasts that the current world population of nearly 7.6 billion will increase to 8.6 billion by 2030, 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100.

After decades of the one-child policy, coupled with new economic and social pressures to succeed, many couples in China have decided to stop with one child, or to not have any at all. China's ageing population remains a cause for concern, with the number of elderly people growing rapidly.

India's population, currently around 1.3 billion, has quadrupled since the country became independent in 1947 but the speed of growth — still very high at around 17.7 per cent in the decade to 2011 — is slowing significantly.

Other populous Asian countries are Indonesia (258 million), Pakistan (189 million), Bangladesh (161 million), Japan (127 million) and Philippines (101 million), as per data from U.N.

Vietnam and Thailand have a total population of 93 and 68 million respectively. Even if Mongolia, which has much larger land area as compared to other smaller Asian countries, like Myanmar (having population of 52 million), South Korea (50 million) and Malaysia(30 million), is comparatively less populated. Its total population is only 2.97 million.

Bhutan, Brunei and Maldives are the least populated countries in Asia. With a population of 409,163, Maldives is the smallest Asian country.

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