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Population Trends by the Lancet

  • Category
    Social Issues
  • Published
    20th Jul, 2020

According to the study by the Lancet, India’s population is forecasted to peak in 2048 at 1.6 bn, to decline to 1.09 bn in 2100.

Context

According to the study by the Lancet, India’s population is forecasted to peak in 2048 at 1.6 bn, to decline to 1.09 bn in 2100.

About

  • The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). It analyzed population trends in 195 countries.
  • It used data from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017 to model future populations in various scenarios as a function of fertility, migration, and mortality rates.

Key Findings

  • The world population is forecasted to peak at around 9.7 billion people in 2064 and fall to 8.8 billion by the century’s end, with 23 countries seeing populations shrink by more than 50 percent, including Japan, Thailand, Italy, and Spain.
  • The global Total Fertility Rate (TFR) is predicted to steadily decline from 37 in 2017 to 1.66 in 2100 — well below the minimum rate of 2.1.
    • TFR indicates the average number of children expected to be born to a woman during her reproductive span of 15-49 years.
  • The new study also predicts huge shifts in the global age structure, with an estimated 2.37 billion individuals over 65 years globally in 2100 compared with 1.7 billion under 20 years.

India Specific Findings

  • According to the analysis by the Lancet, India’s population is forecasted to peak in 2048 at around 1.6 billion, up from 1.38 billion in 2017, which will be followed by a 32 percent decline to around 1.09 billion in 2100.
  • India is also expected to surpass China's workforce population in the mid - the 2020s, where the working-age population is estimated to decline from 950 million in 2017 to 357 million in 2100.
  • According to the study, India in 2100 will be the world’s most populous country.
  • The number of working-age adults aged 20-64 in India is projected to fall from around 762 million in 2017 to around 578 million in 2100.
    • However, India has been forecasted to have the largest working-age population in the world by 2100.
  • From 2017 to 2100 India is projected to rise the rankings of countries with the largest total gross domestic product (GDP) globally from 7th to 3rd.
  • The country’s total fertility rate (TFR) declined to below 2.1 in 2019 and is projected to have a continued steep fertility decline until about 2040, reaching a TFR of 1.29 in 2100.
  • India is also forecasted to have the second-largest net immigration in 2100, with an estimated half a million more people immigrating to India in 2100 than emigrating out.

Challenges

  • The new population forecasts are in contrast with projects of “continuing” global growth by the United Nations Population Division.
  • The study highlights huge challenges to the economic growth of a shrinking workforce, the high burden on health and social support systems of an aging population.
    • As countries move toward prioritizing development, fertility reduction is inevitable. At the same time, improved survival at all ages, especially at the older ages, would lead to the rapid aging of the population.

Suggestions

  • Liberal migration policies could be adopted temporarily but it is not a permanent solution.
  • To invest in technological advancements that can compensate for human shortages.
    • For example, Japan has managed the needs of its greying population with virtually no emphasis on migration.
  • The effect of fertility decline on women’s reproductive health rights has to be accompanied by greater economic independence.
    • This would allow women to negotiate with the system on their terms and for better support services as well.

 

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