This graphic shows India’s population overtaking China

Visualizing what growth looks like.

8 October 2019

Gemma Conroy

Aron Strandberg

With an estimated global population of 7.7 billion people in 2019, the world has never been more crowded.

According to a report released by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs in June this year, it will become even more so over the next 30 years, with the number of humans predicted to rise to 9.7 billion people by 2050.

China has been the most populous country in the world for at least 250 years. It current 1.4 billion people comprise almost 19% of the global population.

But that is about to change, with India projected to overtake China by 2027. By 2050, India will have almost 1.5 billion inhabitants, an increase of close to 273 million people over three decades.

What does this change look like? Aron Strandberg, an economics student at Lund University in Sweden, placed the two countries side-by-side in a striking animated visualization of historical and future population growth.

Using data from the United States Census Bureau, the graphic shows the number of men and women, their median age group and overall population in China and India from 1992 to 2050.

population growth

The visualization highlights some striking differences in age distributions between the two countries. Over six decades, China’s population shifts from being dominated by 10-20 year-olds to people well into their sixties, indicating growing life expectancy and a drop in birth rates at the turn of the millennium.

While the visualization shows a gradual decline in birth rates in India, the country’s age distribution is more evenly spread than China, with young and middle-aged people accounting for more than half of the population by 2050.

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