India set to pass China in population race. Beijing says, 'Want to tell you…'
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, “I want to tell you that population dividend does not depend on quantity but also quality.”
Shortly after the United Nations said Wednesday India remains on track to become the world's most populous nation - surpassing China by mid-2023 - Beijing hit back boasting of a better trained workforce with nearly 900 million people working towards the development of the country. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson was quoted by news agency PTI as stressing on skilled labour and said: "I want to tell you that population dividend does not depend on quantity but also quality."
“China’s population is over 1.4 billion. Those in the working age is close to 900 million and that group of populations is 10.5 years of education on average… our population dividend has not disappeared and our talent dividend is booming and the impetus is strong for development," Wang Wenbin said.
India is expected to be the most populous country in the world by the middle of this year and overtake China, according to the latest data from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
The UNFPA’s 'State of World Population Report, 2023 - titled '8 Billion Lives, Infinite Possibilities: The Case for Rights and Choices' was released Wednesday said the country's population is projected to touch 1,428.6 million while that of China would be 1,425.7 million, a difference of 2.9 million.
It will be the first time India's population exceeds China's since 1950, when the UN first began to collect and release population data. The UNFPA's media and crisis communications advisor, Anna Jeffreys, said there were no 'perfect numbers' for either country; "… what is important is how India and China support their populations," she explained.
With reference to current demographics, the UNFPA also said a quarter of India's population is under 14 years of age, while 18 per cent are between 10 and 19, 26 per cent between 10 and 24, and 68 per cent were between 15 and 64 years old. Seven per cent is over the age of 65.
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The corresponding figures for China are 17, 12, 18, 69 and 14 per cent, which means the country has nearly 200 million people above the age of 65.
This, the agency's country rep, Andrea Wojner, said suggests a 'clear demographic advantage' for India. "Its young population in a consumer-driven economy will be a major factor in driving the country's development and presents an enormous opportunity for the country’s economic growth."