China's population drops for first time since 1960s; India may now be world's most populous country

The population of mainland China fell by 850,000 last year to 1.41 billion, according to the statistics bureau there, with 9.56 million births and 10.41 million deaths in 2022. The pandemic and an economic downturn are identified as the causes. With the end of draconian zero-covid policies ( the country hiding its death toll) some 60,000 deaths a month are being reported nationwide from Covid.

"Despite the negative impact of shrinking population size on China's long-term growth potential, we recommend companies look at the opportunities embedded in population structure," she said. "Smaller family sizes will drive the transformation and upgrading of consumption. The 'silver economy' associated with ageing trends will be another growth point."

India is expected to overtake China's population this year, but these reports suggest it may already have done so.