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20 April 2023: State of the World Population Report


Recently, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) published the State of World Population Report, 2023.

About the Report

  • The yearly flagship publication of UNFPA is the State of the World Population report.
  • Since 1978, it has been released every year.
  • The increasing issues in the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights are brought to light, and the potential and difficulties they present for global development are explored.

Report’s key points

  • According to United Nations figures, India will surpass China in terms of population by the middle of 2023, overtaking it as the world’s most populated nation.
  • India’s population is predicted to be 142.86 billion, compared to China’s 142.57 billion.
  • India will have 29 lakh more people than China, according to this.


  • In November 2022, the number of people reached 800 billion.
  • By 2050, only eight nations—the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, and the United Republic of Tanzania—will account for half of the anticipated expansion in the world’s population.
  • In a nation with two-thirds of the population today, lifetime fertility equates to no growth.
  • With an estimated 34 crore people, the United States comes in last.

Population increase is slowing down:

  • Contrary to the warnings about growing numbers, the paper claims that population patterns around the world point to slower growth and aging societies.
  • Considering shifting demographics
  • The report issued a warning against using family planning as a means of reaching fertility goals and urged for a dramatic revision of how nations approach shifting populations.
  • It issued a warning, citing evidence from around the world that family planning goals could result in sexism and other harmful behaviors, such as prenatal sex determination leading to sex-selective abortion.

Policy formulation:

  • The report strongly urged governments to enact laws that prioritize gender equality and human rights, such as parental leave programs, child tax credits, laws that support gender equality at work, and laws ensuring that everyone has access to sexual and reproductive health and rights.

In relation to India:

  • India has a limited window of opportunity to benefit from the demographic dividend due to the close to 50% of its population that is under the age of 25, but it must translate this opportunity into “economic benefits through additional investments in health, education, and quality jobs for young people — including targeted investments in women and girls.”
  • The UN agency said its findings for India also suggested that “population anxieties have seeped into large portions of the general public.” There have been increasing calls for imposing a two-child norm in India by various political leaders, and some States, such as Assam, have issued an order in 2021 banning those with more than two children from government jobs.
  • Attention: Setting such goals might result in gender imbalances, preferential treatment of male children’s health and nutrition, denial of the paternity of female children, violence against women for having girl children, and compulsion of women to have fewer or more children.
    issues facing India

Postponed Census

  • The administration has yet to disclose its plans for the Census 2021 exercise, which has caused an intriguing delay in conducting an authorized evaluation of India’s existing population.
  • The census exercise generates fundamental input data for a wide range of indicators used in planning and enacting policy.
  • The accuracy of these decisions may deteriorate in the absence of trustworthy indications based on credible data from the Census.
  • Focus on important regions
    With over 1.4 billion people, governments must pay close attention to the essentials of human well-being: employment, education, nutrition, healthcare, and housing.
  • Productivity and economics: The next generation needs to be prepared with knowledge economy-relevant skills.
    To maintain a certain level of per capita income, the productivity of the population must rise.
    We’ll need measures to create more jobs so that more men and women are participating in the labor force.
  • Climate change: The need to minimize the environmental impact of numerous activities is driven by the climate catastrophe and other ecological imperatives.
  • Democratic obstacles:
    The difficulties will, above all, provoke conversation, disagreement, and the need to hear from a variety of viewpoints.
    To move forward, India’s democratic traditions and the durability of its institutions will be essential.
  • State-based emphasis
    Of course, much more work needs to be done in this area, especially in areas like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh where the TFR is higher than average and where gender discrimination has long-standing social roots.
  • Giving women the freedom to make choices and carry them out should be the government’s first priority if it is to genuinely achieve population control.
  • The government must make sure that contraceptives are available to individuals who need them, are affordable, and come in a variety of forms they can use.

India has a window of opportunity to harvest its “demographic dividend” well into the 2040s, much like China did from the late 1980s till up until 2015.
The provision of meaningful work possibilities for a youthful population is absolutely necessary for this to happen; otherwise, the demographic dividend might easily turn into a demographic nightmare.

UNFPA: United Nations Population Fund

  • It is the UN organization for sexual and reproductive health.
  • It was started back in 1969.
  • Our goal is to bring about a world in which every pregnancy is desired, every birth is safe, and every young person’s potential is realized.
  • Rights to reproductive services:
    It advocates for the fulfillment of universal access to sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning on a voluntary basis, maternal health care, and thorough sexuality education.
  • In 2018, it started working toward three transformative goals that promise to alter the world for every man, woman, and child:
    • the satisfaction of unmet family planning needs.
    • ending maternal deaths that are avoidable.
    • putting a stop to destructive behaviors and violence against women.