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India population to surpass China mid-year, UN estimates show

India is set to overtake China as the world's most populous country by mid-year with almost three million more people, UN estimates showed on Wednesday.

India's population will be 1.4286 billion compared to China's 1.4257 billion at mid-year, the United Nations Population Fund's State of World Population report showed.

China's population shrank last year for the first time in more than six decades, official data showed earlier this year.

The report also estimated that the global population will have hit 8.045 billion by the same date.

India has no recent official data on how many people it has because it has not conducted a census since 2011.

India's once in a decade census was due to be held in 2021 but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It is now bogged down by logistical hurdles and political reluctance, making it unlikely the massive exercise will begin anytime soon.

Critics say the government is deliberately delaying the census to hide data on contentious issues such as unemployment ahead of national elections next year.

According to the Pew Research Centre, India's population has grown by more than one billion people since 1950, the year the UN began gathering population data. — Agence France-Presse