India's population growth rate declines

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The Independent Online

India is now home to 17 per cent of the world's people as its population climbed to 1.21 billion this year, though growth actually slowed for the first time in 90 years, census officials said yesterday.

The country – second only to China in number of people – added 181 million in the past decade, said Dr C Chandramouli, the census commissioner. That increase alone is nearly the entire population of Brazil. United Nations projections show that India could overtake China and its 1.34 billion people as the world's most populous nation by 2030, though Dr Chandramouli said a more rigorous analysis of data would be needed before India made its own projections.

India's population is now nearly equal to the combined populations of the United States, Indonesia, Brazil, Japan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, he said. Yet, the 17.6 per cent increase was down from 21.5 in the last count a decade ago.