India is about to replace China as the world’s largest country

The UN has revised its estimates and now thinks will India will have a larger population than China within a decade. That changes more or less everything.

It’s a commonplace observation that we are moving into an Asian century. Indeed it’s rather trite. But that’s not the same as a Chinese century.

The Middle Kingdom will in the not too distant future become the world’s largest economy but before it does it will cease to have the world’s largest population. That demographic crown will pass to India. In the absence of a one child policy it’s birthrate is significantly higher than China’s: the average Indian women has one more child than her Chinese counterpart.

The UN has recently updated its projections and now believes the two countries will switch position as soon as 2022. And what’s more the gap is likely to continue widening. Indeed, it seems likely that for much of the century there will be 3 Indians for every 2 Chinese.

Anyone assuming that we are heading into an era of Chinese hegemony or of China and America carving up the world between them may be in for a surprise. We might soon be looking at a world where India has the largest population, China the largest economy and America the most powerful military. That potentially makes for messy geopolitics reminiscent of the run up to World War I. As that comparison suggests such complexity is dangerous with a rapidly shifting balance of power allowing nations to kid themselves that conflict is in their interests.

India’s rise may also require us to change how we think about democracy. Not for nothing is the American president unofficially known as ‘the leader of the free world’; since at least 1945 the success of America politically, economically and culturally has been the barometer of democracy’s success. But as Asia becomes more central to our perceptions of the world as a whole and India rises demographically and economically it rather than US may become the paradigm example of democracy. It is (somewhat simplistically) argued that America one the Cold War because people behind the Iron Curtain wanted Levi’s rather than Ladas. Soon people in autocracies may judge whether they want to change their political system by comparing what Indians have with what the Chinese do.

Source: the Economist

German-Americans are the largest ethnic group in the US

The Economist reports that:

German-Americans are America’s largest single ethnic group (if you divide Hispanics into Mexican-Americans, Cuban-Americans, etc). In 2013, according to the Census bureau, 46m Americans claimed German ancestry: more than the number who traced their roots to Ireland (33m) or England (25m). In whole swathes of the northern United States, German-Americans outnumber any other group (see map). Some 41% of the people in Wisconsin are of Teutonic stock.

And that:

Today German-Americans are quietly successful. Their median household income, at $61,500, is 18% above the national norm. They are more likely to have college degrees than other Americans, and less likely to be unemployed. A whopping 97% of them speak only English at home.

They have assimilated and prospered without any political help specially tailored for their ethnic group. “The Greeks and the Irish have a far stronger support network and lobby groups than we do,” says Peter Wittig, Germany’s ambassador in America. There was no German-American congressional caucus until 2010, though there were caucuses for potatoes, bicycles and Albanian affairs. The German caucus has quickly grown to about 100 members, who lobby for trade and investment as well as the preservation of their common cultural heritage.

Tokyo has a larger population than the majority of countries

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Having done a post on small countries, here’s one on a huge city.

37 million people live in the massive Tokyo-Yokohoma conglomeration. That’s a quarter of the population of Japan or 0.52% of all the world’s 7.1 billion people. It makes it larger than Canada, over a hundred over countries and in fact the majority of countries in the world.

It’s pretty remarkable that any city could grow that big. Even more amazingly so-called ‘megacities’ of more than 10 million people are going to become more common. The number of people living in urban areas is growing by 60 million people a year.

U.N. projections to 2025 suggest that the future list of megacities will be dominated by such lower-income cities, with growth primarily in places like Africa and central Asia. Among the likely new entrants are Lima (Peru) , Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Tianjin (China). At least seven others (Chennai, Bangalore, Bogota, Ho Chi Minh City, Dongguan, Chengdu and Hyderabad) are now above 8 million, making it likely they could reach megacity status by 2030. Among high-income world cities, London might finally reach 10 million while the only other high-income world candidate, Chicago, with more than 9 million residents, could take until 2040.

There are 37 countries with populations smaller than Kent

Or at least there are by my count.

Kent (or to be more exact the area within the boundary Kent County Council) has just under 1.5 million people residents. There are 37 countries with populations smaller than that. They are mostly small pacific islands but also include recognisable national entities like Bahrain, Montonegro and Cyprus.