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28 Feb, 2013

China’s Elderly Population to Cross 200 mln in 2013


BEIJING, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) — China will have 202 million elderly people in 2013, accounting for 14.8 percent of the total population, the China Research Center on Aging said on Wednesday.

According to a center report, the country witnessed the first peak in its growing elderly population, which included 194 million senior citizens at the end of 2012. People aged 60 and over made up 14.3 percent of the country’s total population last year, as the age group added 8.91 million people year on year, said the report.

Also a concern is that the working-age population will drop to 936 million this year from 939 million in 2012, according to the report. It  said that a bigger proportion of the population will need help. In 2013, 45.94 percent of the total population will need to be supported by other people, while the figure was 44.62 percent in 2012.

At a press conference, Wu Yushao, director of the center, said that the number of empty-nesters added up to 99 million in 2012 and will exceed 100 million this year.

As society gets older there is the possibility that more people may suffer illnesses. China has more than 36 million elderly people who need to be attended to, the report said.

The elderly with chronic diseases will exceed 100 million in 2013 from 97 million in 2012, it added. “Senility, the disabled elderly and empty-nesters will be severe challenges for China,” Wu said.

The report said that 2012 and 2013 are major years that will see society get older, as a large amount of people born in 1952 and 1953 enter their 60s.

The report also highlights defects in infrastructure in many cities, which were built mainly for healthy people without paying attention to the convenience of senior citizens.

In order to cope with an aging society, 3.1 billion yuan (493.3 million U.S. dollars) has been allocated to a pilot program to set up the social service system for the elderly, said the report. Beds in nursing homes amounted to 3.9 million in 2012, with 20.5 beds in per thousand senior citizens, it said.

China has also revised relevant laws to guarantee pension insurance for people in both rural and urban areas.