For the first time since 1961 China’s population declined. The dragon will most likely lose the top spot as the most populous country to India.
A shift predicted for over a decade is about to finally happen, following the forecasts of statisticians with an almost eerie precision. China, the World’s most populous country for centuries, could lose the number one spot in 2023 as its population declines.
It’s hard to overstate how important this data is, despite being seemingly useless. However, it will have massive repercussions in 10/15-years time all around the globe.
In 2023, the new most populous country in the world will be India. The take over should happen around July, with the UN forecasting India’s population at 1,428 billion people. China, instead, will keep losing population falling at a marginally lower 1,426 billion.
This will just be the start of a decade-long trend. By 2050, Indian population is projected to reach 1,6 billion, with China falling at 1,3 billion and eventually fall below the billion line.
Furthermore, the Chinese population will be significantly older than India’s. It’s expected that by 2035, a third of Chinese citizens will be above the age of 60: a significant demographic shift for the Eastern dragon.
The depopulation phenomenon already started: according to Beijing official statistics, China’s population in 2022 declined by 850.000 people. It’s the first decline since 1961, at the height of Mao’s “Great Leap Forward” which decimated the rural population.
Why does this matter
To understand why this is a shift of historical proportion we must look further, on the other side of the Pacific. The United States is the biggest economy in the World, as well as the only superpower remaining on the globe after the Cold War.
In the last twenty years China has tried to catch up, exploiting their incredibly large pool of young and promising workforce. Indeed, their growth was spectacular, becoming the World’s second biggest economy in just twenty years.
However, when compared to their population, this growth pales in comparison to the American power. The USA has 1.1 billion people less than China, and yet their GDP manages to be $6 trillion bigger. When looking at it like this, it is no surprise that America is the only superpower remaining, and one could wonder if and how China will pass them.
Furthermore, China has been trying to ramp up their military to close unresolved issues. Taiwan, for example, has always been a thorn in China’s side, and its reconquest was always up on Beijing’s list of priorities.
However, an aging and declining population is not suited for conquest. When, in the 2030s, China will have to spend a huge portion of their resources on elderly healthcare, with fewer and fewer young people supporting it, there will be no time to think about military invasions.
In short, this is the last decade China has to fulfill their ambitions. And many think it is not enough time.