China Facing Aging Challenges

| Jan 21, 2015 04:43 AM EST

Elderly Chinese have traditionally lived with, and been looked after by, their children.

China's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) held a press conference on Tuesday and released data on the nation's population, including demographic information that shows that a growing aging population remains an ongoing concern for the government.

The figures collated by the NBS show that China's working-age population, aged 16 to 59 years, shrank to 915.8 million in 2014, while those Chinese aged 60 and over increased by over 10 million to 212.4 million over the same time period.

The larger elderly population that emerged at the end of last year represents 15.5 percent of the total population, while the working population fell by 3.7 million in comparison to the same period in 2013.

Looking ahead to 2030, forecasts show that a quarter of the population, equivalent to around 350 million people, will be 60 years or older. The projections are in stark contrast to 1982 when the proportion was 5 percent.

The issue was raised in the media at the turn of the 21st century, as China.org.cn published information stating that, in accordance with internationally recognized standards, if 10 percent of the population of a country or region consists of people aged 60 years and older, the term "aging society" is applicable.

The article showed that, in 2000, one in every 10 Chinese fit this age criterion, while over 7 percent of the country's population were older that 65.

The website concluded: "This phenomenon is expected to continue for decades."

After Tuesday's announcement, China's one-child policy, introduced in the 1970s, was identified as a hindrance.

Vice director of the Institute of Urban and Population Development Studies at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences Zhou Haiwang told reporters:

"The government should allow more couples to have a second child in order to ease the unbalanced population structure due to a low birth rate. . . . If the rate remains at such a low level, China will be further burdened by the larger number of elderly people."

The NBS also stated that the nation's migrant population had grown over 2014 to reach a total of 253 million.

Related News

Most Popular