China’s elderly population to climb to 240 million by 2020

BEIJING: China will have 240 million people aged 60 or above by 2020, 17 per cent of the total population, putting a heavy strain on healthcare system and steady reduction of labour force in the world’s second largest economy.

China currently has an elderly population of 220 million and by 2020, senior citizens will make up 17 per cent of the population about 240 million, Liu Qian, deputy head of the National Health and Family Planning Commission told a conference.

Liu said China also faced severe situation with regard to chronic diseases, with more than 260 million chronically ill patients in the country.

These illnesses are to blame for over 86 per cent of deaths in China.

Liu was quoted the per capita annual spending on health was estimated at around USD 472 in 2015.

In May this year, Chinese President Xi Jinping held a meeting to review the situation as population above 60 years has climbed to 220 million people constituting 16 per cent of the total population, far sooner than expected.

Chinese capital is already feeling the heat with numbers of pensioners climbing up to 23.4 per cent of about 22 million population.

In order to address the long-term impact of the population, the Chinese government this year has scrapped the three-decade-old one-child policy and permitted people to have a second child.

The Beijing local government expects 30 per cent of the city’s population to be aged 60 or above by 2030.

By 2020, the city will pay out 200 billion yuan (USD 30.7 billion) in old-age pensions and the amount is expected to surge to 670 billion (about USD 111 billion) in 2030.

The number of those aged between 16 and 59 will decrease to 896 million in 2020 and 824 million in 2030, while those aged 60 and over will grow to 253 million in 2020 and 365 million in 2030, new data provided by the Population and Development Studies Centre at the Renmin University of China said.