China is getting older. The Ministry of Civil Affairs predicts that there may be as many as 300 million seniors living in the country by 2025.
Last Friday, a report released by the ministry said that 12.57% of China’s population were aged 65 or above at the end of 2019.
According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, the dependency ratio of the elderly population has risen to 17.8% over the past three decades. The figure indicates that each senior resident needs to be supported by six people.
In a Global Times article published Sunday, several consequences of an aging population were highlighted. For starters, China’s massive pension system will take a hit as the number of people drawing from the account will exceed those paying into the system.
Labor costs will also rise with a shrinking total supply of labor, while the increase in the aging population will cause a change in consumption structure, according to a population report by Tsinghua University’s Evergrande Research Institute.
Ren Zeping, dean of the Evergrande Research Institute, suggests the government should rollout a three-child policy. (The two-child policy was implemented at the start of 2016.) He also noted that the availability of childcare should increase and protection of women’s employment rights and interests needs to improve to encourage having more children.
The government, which is gearing up for its 14th Five-Year Plan – a development roadmap for the entire country, is expected to issue new policies to address the aging workforce.
Experts have floated policy tools such as income tax credits and financial subsidies that would cover pregnancy care and child benefit payments.
[Cover image via Pixabay]