Between 2015 and 2050, India's working-age population is projected to expand by 33% (~285 million people) – in stark contrast to the grim demographic trends facing China and most developed economies, which will struggle to support ballooning numbers of retirees even as their labor forces shrink.
Today, two-thirds of Indians still live in rural areas – making the country roughly as urbanized as China in 1995, South Korea in 1965, Japan in 1935, Europe in 1905, or America in 1885. However, India's rural-to-urban migration is gathering pace. Over the next two decades, its urban areas are forecast to gain a New York City's worth of new residents every ten months – laying the groundwork for an extended period of elevated economic growth.
India has the youngest population among the world’s twenty largest economies. Two-thirds of its 1.3 billion people are 35 or under; the roughly half a billion Indians who are under 20 years old account for one-fifth of the entire world’s young people.
For a deeper dive into India's political and economic history, check out the dispatches covering the lead-up to India’s 1991 crisis (“India before 1991: tiger caged”), the reforms unleashed by that year’s events (“India since 1991: tiger uncaged”), and the parts of the economy in which India's post-1991 liberalization remains a work in progress ("India's unfinished revolution").