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China's aging population rises to nearly 178 mln

(Xinhua)

08:17, August 17, 2011

BEIJING, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- A government report released Tuesday showed that the number of China's citizens at and above 60 years old had increased to 177.65 million.

The aging population made up 13.26 percent of the total Chinese population, according to the report by the administration department of China's National Working Commission on Aging (CNWCA).

The report was about the development of China's aging service and aging industry in 2010. It was the second report released by CNWCA on the issue since 2010.

According to the report, the number of senior citizens at and above 60 on the Chinese mainland had increased by 2.93 percent from that of 2000, and the number of people at and above 65 had reached 118.83 million by the end of 2010.

China's aging population is increasing rapidly while the country's birth rate remains low. It is estimated that the percentage of China's aging population will reach 16.7 percent of the total population in the next five years, and about 30 percent by 2050.

According to international standards, a country or region is considered to have an "aging society" when the number of people at and above 60 reaches 10 percent or more of its total population.

Addressing the report's launch ceremony Tuesday, Yan Qingchun, deputy head of the administration department of CNWCA, said China has a huge demand for nursing facilities and services for aging population.

The market of nursing services demanded by aging population on China's mainland is worth more than 3 trillion yuan (around 469 billion U.S. dollars), Yan said.

Currently the overall supply of nursing services for seniors in China still falls short of demand, he added.

The total number of beds in the existing nursing homes on the mainland equals to only 1.59 percent of its total aging population, a ratio lower than both the 5 to 7 percent in developed countries and the 2 to 3 percent in developing countries, according to Yan.

China has introduced a series of favorable policy initiatives to encourage private investment in nursing homes over the years. As a result, private-funded nursing homes for aging increased rapidly.

China will continue to encourage the development of private nursing homes for the aged in the future, Yan said.

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