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The population of India was 1.311 billion in 2015, according to an estimate from the United Nations, making it the second most populated country in the world after China. But, as early as in 2022, the population of India is widely expected to surpass that of China to make India the most populous country in the world. Even now India contributes twice as much as China to global population growth. By 2050, the Population Division of the UN expects India population to exceed 1.62 billion people.

According to the 2011 census data, the most populous Indian state is Uttar Pradesh with population of roughly 200 million. To put this into context, Uttar Pradesh's population is nearly equal to that of the world's fifth most populous country: Brazil's population in 2015 was estimated at 208 million. And, the examples can go on. The second most populous Indian state, Maharashtra, has a population roughly the same as the population of Mexico.

The main factors behind the rapid population growth in India are high fertility, illiteracy, poverty and immigration from Nepal and Bangladesh. Though the fertility rate in India is decreasing slowly, it is still above 2.1 births per woman that, when combined with low a low national mortality rate, results in each new generation being more populous than the previous one.

Cohesive population policy is needed for India to bring the rate of population growth under control. However, it would be difficult to implement a family planning program with similar effectiveness as China’s “One-Child Policy” in India due to the high level of heterogeneity of its population: numerous ethnic groups, religions and languages coexist in this country.

Despite population problems, India is rapidly increasing in economic power and has high future potential. By some estimates, the GDP per capita in India will increase by 37 percent by 2020, helping support this booming population.

See also: When Will India Have More Population than China?

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Last updated: Friday, 07 October 2016