India Closes In On China as World’s Most Populous Country

India is on track to become the world’s most populous country after it added another 181 million people over the last decade based on the latest census.

Although its present population growth rate of 17.6 percent is down from the previous census’s 21.5 percent, the South Asian power could overcome its Eastern counterpart in the next 20 years. India now has an estimated 1.21 billion people, while China, which has been pro-active in its population control, has 1.34 billion as of last year. According to United Nations projections, India could overtake China by 2030. The latest census result, released on Thursday, is not yet official, with the final tally expected to come out next year, according to the Daily Mail.

India is the world’s 11th largest economy by GDP based on the International Monetary Fund’s 2010 list, while China is ranked second only to the United States. However, despite economic success, the two countries, India in particular, are also known for their high poverty incidence. The census result for India could mean headache for policy makers, who are hard-pressed to reduce poverty incidence in the country, where some 800 million people are considered poor.