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Roubini: India May Overtake China within a Year

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Washington’s Blog
Sunday, September 5, 2010

Nouriel Roubini made an interesting point about India and China this week:

Roubini warned that world growth leader China was too dependent on exports to the struggling West and predicted that within a year its economic growth will be overtaken by India, a huge nation much more reliant on its domestic market for development.

India and China are the two most populous nations on Earth.

The 2009 World Population Datasheet – published by the Population Reference Bureau – states that India will have more people than China within a couple of decades.

India has a very young age demographic, as shown by the following age pyramids:

India Population Pyramid for 1995

Age and sex distribution for the year 1995:

India Population Pyramid for 2000

Age and sex distribution for the year 2000:

India Population Pyramid for 2003

Age and sex distribution for the year 2003:

India Population Pyramid for 2005

Age and sex distribution for the year 2005:

India Population Pyramid for 2010

Age and sex distribution for the year 2010:

India Population Pyramid for 2020

Predicted age and sex distribution for the year 2020:

India Population Pyramid for 2050

Predicted age and sex distribution for the year 2050:

If India’s demand mainly comes from its domestic market – rather than, say, American consumers who are now trying to watch their budget – there is tremendous potential for growth.

Moreover, as the following chart shows, India will have a very low percentage of elderly who need to be taken care of by the young:

Chart 2: Old Age Dependency Ratios for Selected Countries


So India will have even less of a drag on its economy from its elderly population than China, let alone an rapidly-aging countries like Germany or Japan.

Note: This is not to say that India will surpass China as the world’s second biggest economy any time soon. Roubini is talking about the rate of growth, not GDP.

This article was posted: Sunday, September 5, 2010 at 3:47 am

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