STORY: "We view China as a growth engine for the world, and that just may not be the case," Cipolloni said. A declining population, he added, "portends to slower economic growth going forward. So how does that change things for the world? I think that one of the things that may change is the growth focus may shift over to India, a country that is still growing and is a large country."
U.N. experts predicted last year India would have a population of 1.412 billion in 2022 though they did not expect the South Asian nation to overtake China until this year.
India, however, only collects population figures every 10 years and its latest census, originally scheduled for 2021, has been delayed due to the pandemic.
China's fourth quarter economic growth also slumped to one of its worst levels in nearly half a century as the country was hit hard by strict COVID curbs and a real estate market slump.