China’s elderly population continues to grow, according to the latest data released by China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs. By the end of 2022, China had 208 million people aged 60 and over, accounting for nearly 20% of the total population. This indicates that the country’s population is rapidly aging. An official Xinhua commentary said that population aging will remain a long-term challenge for China.
In 2021, Chinese people aged 60+ totaled 267 million, making up 18.9% of the population. The 65+ population was 257 million, or 14.2% of the total. The new data for 2022 illustrates the continued rise in China’s proportion of elderly people.
Demographic data show that the aging trend will likely accelerate in the coming years. During China’s 14th Five-Year Plan period from 2026-2030, the number of elderly aged 60+ is expected to exceed 300 million as the country enters a phase of “moderate aging.” Around 2035, the elderly population will surpass 400 million, a phase of “severe aging.”
Population aging presents economic and social challenges for China in areas like healthcare, pensions, and elder care. An official commentary said it is a “long-term fundamental situation affecting the nation, which China will need to adapt to through supportive policies and services.”
China will need to prepare for a society that will have over 400 million elderly by 2035. In 2022, China spent over 42 billion yuan (US$5.8 billion) on elderly welfare and over 17 billion yuan (US$2.3 billion) on elderly services.
Source: Central News Agency (Taiwan), October 16, 2023