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Ageing Population in China reaches 167 Million

Posted on Jul 14, 2010 by Sergio Ulloa ()  | Tags: Aged Population, Old-age Pension Programme

China last year saw a half of a percentage point increase in its aged population, defined as those people 60 years old or above, equivalent to 7.25 million people, taking the total number of elderly to 167.14 million or roughly 12.5 percent of its total population. This increase is the largest one observed in an annual basis and raises concerns about the huge challenge it represents to the frail retirement system and medical insurance services for the elderly and the impact to the economy in the future. As per figures recently released by the Office of China National Committee on Ageing, the number of people 80 years old or older last year reached 19 million, and it is estimated to increase annually by 1 million, also citing that currently the average life expectancy is over 73 years old. Statistics related to the number of urban residents participating in the basic old-age pension programme revealed that in 2009 the total reached 235 million people, which is a 7.3 percent increase when compared to the total number of participants in 2008. The central budget allocated US$19.6 billion (EUR 15.4 billion) in the form of a basic old-age insurance subsidy, which represents an increase of 69.7 percent year-on-year. Equivalently, the medical insurance subsidy allocated to urban residents amounted to US$701.6 million (EUR 552.5 million) in 2009, an increase of 50.1 percent over the same period in the previous year. Overall, 400 million urban residents took part in the programme, with more than 60 million of these persons belonging to the retired and aged categories. Addressing the social pension insurance in the countryside, the Central Finance has given the basic old-age pension to 15 million aged residents, spread over 320 counties from 31 provinces nationwide chosen as pilot areas in which to exercise the scheme. By the end of 2009, the country counted 38,000 old-age welfare institutions providing a variety of services to more than 2.1 million aged residents. These signs of a quickly aging society could lead towards problems implementing the Healthy China 2020 reforms, one of the aims of which is to provide national medical coverage to all citizens, as the costs for doing so could become prohibitively expensive.
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