India is projected to overtake China as the world's most populous country next year, according to a report by the United Nations.

The World Population Prospects 2022 report says that the world population is expected to reach 8 billion on November 15, 2022.

The latest projections by the United Nations suggest that the global population could grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050 and 10.4 billion in 2100.

Population growth is caused in part by declining levels of mortality, as reflected in increased levels of life expectancy at birth, the report says. "Globally, life expectancy reached 72.8 years in 2019, an increase of almost 9 years since 1990. Further reductions in mortality are projected to result in an average longevity of around 77.2 years globally in 2050," it adds.

In 2022, the two most populous regions were both in Asia — eastern and south-eastern Asia — with 2.3 billion people (29% of the global population), and central and southern Asia with 2.1 billion (26%). China and India, with more than 1.4 billion each, accounted for most of the population in these two regions.

As per the report, more than half of the projected increase in global population up to 2050 will be concentrated in just eight countries: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and the United Republic of Tanzania.

Life expectancy at birth for women exceeded that for men by 5.4 years globally, with female and male life expectancies standing at 73.8 and 68.4, respectively.

In 2021, the average fertility of the world’s population stood at 2.3 births per woman over a lifetime, having fallen from about 5 births per woman in 1950, the report says, adding that global fertility is projected to decline further to 2.1 births per woman by 2050.

Sustained high fertility and rapid population growth present challenges to the achievement of sustainable development, says the UN report.

"For countries with continuing high levels of fertility, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly those related to health, education and gender, is likely to hasten the transition towards lower fertility and slower population growth," it adds.

The 46 least developed countries (LDCs) are among the world's fastest-growing. Many are projected to double in population between 2022 and 2050, putting additional pressure on resources and posing challenges to the achievement of the SDGs.

For many countries and areas, including some small island developing states (SIDS), the challenges posed by rapid growth are compounded by their vulnerability to climate change and sea-level rise, the report notes.

The share of the global population aged 65 years or above is projected to rise from 10% in 2022 to 16% in 2050, the UN says.

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