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Best of NAMA 2022

By Aaron Putze, Iowa Soybean Association

By the time planters roll in Iowa this spring, India will have surpassed China as the world's most populous country.

The United Nations estimates that in three months, India's population will swell to 1.45 billion, ranking first globally.

Of India's 1.41 billion people, 1 in 4 are under the age of 15 and nearly half are under 25. Since 1950, India and China have accounted for 35% of the world's population growth. Conversely, just one-fourth of China's 1.45 billion people are 25 years or younger.

China's population is set to peak in the coming years and projected to decline. This means that the older, nonworking population will have to rely on individual single children, many of whom will probably face economic difficulties caring for two parents and four grandparents. As a result, many elderly Chinese will be left to rely on a public pension system that is reportedly set to be depleted by 2035, despite recent efforts by the government to boost revenue.

Population growth in China is flatlining, and its supply of cheap labor may follow suit. India and its growing population of more than a billion people could pick up some of the slack, but its growth rate is also declining, the UN reports. In addition, its industrial infrastructure is not as robust as China's. And much of India's population growth is centered in its poorer regions, especially in the north.

By 2050, data shows that India is expected to provide more than a sixth of the world's population of working age (15 to 64 years old).

According to U.S. Soybean Export Council, India is the world's largest producer of milk, #2 largest producer of aquaculture, #3 largest producer of eggs and #6 largest producer of broiler meat, as well as home to the highest cattle population on the planet. India is also the world's largest importer of vegetable oils and currently the largest importer of U.S. Soy oil. U.S. Soy has collaborated with India since 1996.

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