China's aging population threatens drive for wealth

11:34, May 19, 2011      

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In China's recent sixth population census, one thing that stood out was that the aged population saw a startling growth.

The group of people aged 60 years or more accounts for 13.3 percent of the total population, or nearly a 3 percent increase over the last census, and the population over the age of 65 accounts for nearly 9 percent, an increase of almost 2 percent compared with the fifth population census, which was calculated in 2000.

Aged population has exceeded 100 million

China Aging Development Foundation (CADF) Director General Li Baoku says that China is the only country in the world that has an aged population over 100 million, and the number is increased by 3.2 percent annually. It is estimated that the aged population will make up one-third of the whole population in 2050.

The aging trend of China's population is different from the trend seen in developed countries is that China's age structure has only taken 18 years to transform as the result of the one-child policy and the improvement of health conditions. This process took dozens of years in developed countries.

Aging problems in rural areas

According to a report conducted by the "aging problem in rural areas" research group, the aged population in rural areas is 1.69 times that in urban areas, with an aged population proportion of 18.3 percent and annual net income per capita at 5,919 yuan, which is approximately 900 U.S. dollars.

Another important issue in rural areas is the underdeveloped social security system. According to statistics from China's sixth census, the rural population is about 674 million, including 123 million aged people, of whom more than 73 million are not able to enjoy the pension.

The "new social security system in rural areas" has been improved several times since its establishment in September 2009. The geographical coverage will be expanded to 60 percent from the original 40 percent, and the new policy will be carried out in July 1.

However, the "new rural cooperative medical service" has already covered most farmers in China, which enables most of the old in rural areas to enjoy basic medical care.

By People's Daily Online
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