India is likely to overtake Japan as the third largest economy in the world by 2050 and continue in that position till 2100, according to a study published in the medical journal Lancet.
The study constructed scenarios for GDP using the working age population of countries. It also assessed potential economic and geopolitical effects of future demographic shifts. The study based 2017 as the reference when India was the seventh largest economy in the world, and forecast that India will emerge as the fourth largest economy by 2030 behind USA, China, Japan and by 2050 it will go onto the third spot and retain it till 2100. The study published in July plotted the forecasted number of working-age individuals (aged 20–64 years) for the ten largest countries in 2017, in the reference scenario. It said that huge declines in the number of workers were forecasted in China and India, alongside steady increases in Nigeria. By 2100, India was forecasted to still have the largest working-age population in the world, followed by Nigeria, China, and the USA.
The study showed that China would rise to the top in 2035 in the reference scenario for GDP, but would be superseded by the USA again in 2098 as population decline curtailed economic growth. Other countries bolstered by immigration that rose up in the global rankings by GDP were Australia and Israel. Despite huge declines in population forecasted this century, Japan remained the fourth-largest economy in 2100, according to the study on fertility, mortality, migration and population scenarios for 195 countries from 2017 to 2100. It said that understanding potential patterns in future population levels is crucial for anticipating and planning for changing age structures, resource and health-care needs, and environmental and economic landscapes. India, Asia’s third-largest economy, had set itself a target of being a $5 trillion economy by 2024-25 but the pandemic has stalled the march towards that target as growth has plunged.
Experts say that India needs to grow at a faster clip to help it reduce poverty and raise the living standards. The study suggested that continued trends in female educational attainment and access to contraception will hasten declines in fertility and slow population growth.