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Most publications have uncritically accepted the position put out by a United Nations organisation that India this month has become the world’s most populous nation. Its assessed population of nearly 1,429 million is said to be fractionally more than China’s — for the first time since modern census operations began. The World Bank repeats the UN numbers, though it claims to use multiple data sources — none of which, however, endorses the UN position that India now has the larger population.
Importantly, neither China nor India supports the claim that India’s population has overtaken China’s. India’s population projection for 2023 is 1,383 million, whereas China’s census last December put its figure at 1,412 million. The US Census Bureau matches census numbers with figures from India’s sample registration system (which tracks things like birth and death rates), migration data, Covid mortality, and pos
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