Tuesday, December 12, 2006

China Faces Challenge of Taking Care of the Elderly

China’s aged population will reach its peak at 437 million in 2051,and the best opportunity for China to get ready for taking care of the elderly is before 2032, or, the country will deeply regret, said a government official on Tuesday.

There are currently 16 million people in China aging 80 or older, according to a government report released on Tuesday. At the end of last year, people over the age of 60 amounted at 144 million, or 11 percent of the total population. Shanghai, China’s most fluent city, tops the list with nearly 20 percent of its population in the 60 plus age group.

With 3 percent annual increase of aged population, by 2051, people over 60 years old could be twice as many as children, claiming 31 percent of China’s population.

Despite such a heavy burden of taking care of seniors, China’s social services for old people, such as health care, legs seriously behind the needs.

Meanwhile, China’s pension deficit has reached 8 trillion yuan ($1 trillion) by the end of 2005, according to government statistics.
----by Josie Liu


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