China Scrambles for Stability as Its Workers Age – Howard W. French

From the New York Times:

22China-600The proportion of people 60 and older is growing faster in China than in any other major country, with the number of retirees set to double between 2005 and 2015, when it is expected to reach 200 million. By midcentury, according to United Nations projections, roughly 430 million people ” about a third of the ” will be retirees.

That increase will place enormous demands on the country’s finances and could threaten the underpinnings of the Chinese economy, which has thrived for decades on the cheap labor of hundreds of millions of young, uneducated workers from the countryside. Changes in the country’s population structure are taking place hand in hand with changes in the structure of the Chinese family. China’s one-child policy, which began in 1980, means that, beginning with the current generation of young adults, couples will face the difficult task of caring for four parents through old age. [Full text]



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