News & Opinion | May 25, 2017 10:00 am

Has India Overtaken China as the Most Populated Nation in the World?

U.S.-based researcher claims that China's official statistics are off by millions.

Is India, Not China, the Most Populace Nation in the World?
(Deshakalyan Chowdhury/AFP/Getty Images)

While China has long been touted as the most populated country in the world, it turns out that there is some dispute over the Asian nation’s claim to that title.

A U.S.-based researcher is disputing China’s stats and claiming that India actually has more people, according to The Washington Post.

The claim was made by Yi Fuxian, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, during an conference at China’s Peking University. Per the South China Morning Post, Yi proposed that China’s population data post-1990 was overstated to the point that the numbers were off by 87.2 million births.

If true, the data would put China’s 2016 population total at 1.29 billion, 90 million fewer than what the Chinese government had reported. Conversely, India’s official population as of last year was 1.33 billion.

Yi authored a book in 2013, Big Country with an Empty Nest, which basically argued the same point he presented at the conference: that China should be bolstering its birthrate, not holding it back. In fact, Yi told The Washington Post that “in 2003, I knew China official announcement population data is much higher than the real population.”