World Population Prospects Report 2022

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    In News

    • Recently, the 27th edition of the World Population Prospects, 2022 was released by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division.

    Report Highlights

    • Comparing India and China:
      • India is projected to surpass China as the world’s most populous country in 2023.
      • In 2022, China remains the most populous country in the world with 1,426 million, but India has caught up with a marginally less population of 1,412 million.
      • 1990: The population of China was 1,144 million in 1990 compared with India’s at 861 million then.
      • 2050: The UN projections say that by 2050, India’s population will reach 1,668 million, far exceeding China’s declining population at 1,317 million. 
    • Global scenario:
      • The global population will reach 8 billion on November 15, 2022, more than three times the population of 2.5 billion in 1950.
      • The UN projections suggest that the global population could grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050, and 10.4 billion in 2100.
      • Populous Regions:
        • The world’s two most populous regions in 2022 were Eastern and South-Eastern Asia, with 2.3 billion people, representing 29 percent of the global population, and Central and Southern Asia, with 2.1 billion (26 percent).
        • China and India accounted for the largest populations in these regions, with more than 1.4 billion each in 2022, says the report. 
        • Central and Southern Asia is expected to become the most populous region in the world by 2037.
      • Rate of population growth:
        • The UN report finds that in 2020, for the first time since 1950, the rate of population growth fell below 1 percent per year and it is projected to continue to slow in the next few decades and through the end of this century.

    • More than half of the projected increase in global population up to 2050 will be concentrated in just eight countries: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and the United Republic of Tanzania. 
      • The 46 least developed countries (LDCs) are among the world’s fastest-growing. Many are projected to double in population between 2022 and 2050, putting additional pressure on resources and posing challenges to the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
    • Impact of International migration on Population:
      • For high-income countries between 2000 and 2020, the contribution of international migration to population growth (net inflow of 80.5 million) exceeded the balance of births over deaths (66.2 million). 
      • Over the next few decades, migration will be the sole driver of population growth in high-income countries. 

    Significance for India

    • Total Fertility Rate (TFR):
      • In India, where National Family Health Survey 5 was released in 2021 found that India attained a Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of 2.0 for the first time, less than the replacement level of 2.1, and falling from a TFR of 2.2 in NFHS 4. 
      • Increased use of contraceptive methods, spacing of pregnancies, access to health care and an impetus provided to family planning contributed to the decrease, including increasing wealth and education.
    • Mortality Rate:
      • While fertility rates have been declining, so have mortality rates with increased access to healthcare and advances in medicine. 
      • This reduction of premature mortality for successive generations, reflected in increased levels of life expectancy at birth, has been a driver of population growth, the UN has said.
    • Population Stability:
      • According to the UNPD, a sustained total fertility rate — the average number of children born to a woman — of 2.1 is necessary for a country to achieve population stability. 
      • The latest National Family Health Survey puts this figure at 2. 
      • In other words, India is on course to achieving population stability if it maintains this rate in the next few years.
    • Population Control measures by India:
      • India’s TFR was 6 when it commenced its population control programme.
      • Comparisons with China would be misplaced because force was the leitmotif of Beijing’s three-and-a-half-decade-long one-child policy.
      • Governments in India — except for a brief lapse into forced sterilisation during the Emergency — have, in contrast, deployed persuasion and education as tools. 

    World Population Prospects (WPP)

    • The Population Division of the UN has been publishing the WPP in a biennial cycle since 1951. 
    • Each revision of the WPP provides a historical time series of population indicators starting in 1950. 
    • It does so by taking into account newly released national data to revise estimates of past trends in fertility, mortality or international migration.

    World Population Day

    • World Population Day is observed annually on July 11 every year
    • It aims to highlight the problems of overpopulation and raise awareness about the effects of overpopulation on the environment and development.
    • This year’s World Population Day [July 11, 2022] falls during a milestone year, when we anticipate the birth of the Earth’s eight billionth inhabitant. 
    • World Population Day was established by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme in 1989
      • It was inspired by the public interest in Five Billion Day, the approximate date on which the world’s population reached five billion people on July 11, 1987.

    Challenges & Way Ahead

    • A population of more than 1.4 billion will require the unflinching focus of policymakers on areas fundamental to human well-being — education, nutrition, healthcare, housing, and employment
    • Productivity and economy:
      • The youth will have to be equipped with skills that are indispensable to the knowledge economy
      • People’s productivity will have to increase for any given per capita income.
      • Will need policies to increase jobs so that labour force participation rate increases for both men and women.
    • Climate change:
      • The climate crisis and other ecological imperatives will mean that the footprints of many activities are kept light. 
    • Democratic challenges:
      • Most importantly, the challenges will spur debate, discussion, even dissension, and require that diverse voices are heard. 
      • India’s democratic traditions and the strength of its institutions will be needed to navigate the way forward from here.
    • Elderly population:
      • The 65+ category is going to grow quite fast and it faces several challenges. Provisioning of social security is obviously a big challenge. This will stretch the resources of future governments. 
      • If the aged stay within the family set-up, the burden on the government could be reduced. “If we go back to our roots and stick around as families, as against the western tendency to go for individualism, then the challenges would be less
    • State-wise focus:
      • Much more needs to be done on this, of course, in large parts of the country, including in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, whose TFR is higher than the national average and where gender discrimination has deep social roots.
    • Choice to women:
      • To actually realise Population Control, educating women and giving them freedom to make choice and implement it, should be first to have attention by the Government.
      • State must ensure contraceptives are accessible, affordable and available in a range of forms acceptable to those using them.

    Source: TH