India's population growth will come to an end: the number of children has already peaked

The number of children in India peaked in the first decade of the 2000s.

Note – This article was first published in January 2019, and was updated in March 2023 with the latest population data.


This year, in 2023, India will overtake China to become the most populous country in the world.

This fact might lead spark fears about ‘uncontrolled’ or never-ending population growth.

While it’s true that India’s population is projected to increase until the 2060s, there is an important piece of evidence tells us that population growth will come to an end: The number of children in India peaked more than a decade ago and is now falling.

The chart here shows India’s population – split by age groups – from 1950 onwards, combined with the UN’s medium projection to 2100.

The number of children under the age of five (under-5s) peaked in 2004; since then the number has been falling. The number of children and adolescents under 15 years old peaked slightly later, in 2009, and is now also declining. These are landmark moments in demographic change.

India's population will still continue to grow as a result of 'population momentum' – the effect often referred to by Hans Rosling and Gapminder as the 'inevitable fill-up' when young generations grow older.1

But we can now see an end to population growth: reaching 'peak child' anticipates the later 'peak population'. The number of children has peaked; total population will follow and reach its peak in four decades.

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    author = {Hannah Ritchie},
    title = {India's population growth will come to an end: the number of children has already peaked},
    journal = {Our World in Data},
    year = {2019},
    note = {}
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