The aging population in China would peak and surpass 400 million by 2050s, meaning there will be one senior citizen every three persons, according to a recent survey. The prospect of an aging society calls for a robust pension industry to supplement deficient family care.
By the end of 2015, China’s aging people had reached 222 million, 16.1% of the total population, and nearly 100 million elderly are “empty nesters” or live alone, according to China’s Pension Industry Development White Paper compiled by the China Business Journal, an economic newspaper published by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
“Urbanization calls for an overall plan to combine urban and rural social welfare systems. How to include hundreds of million migrant workers in endowment insurance would be a big challenge,” Jin Weigang, an official of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, said at launch ceremony of the White Paper.
Another challenge comes from the so-called “baby bust”, which refers to a decline in youth population. Data in the White Paper shows that, in 2010, the average family size was 3.1 people, while by 2030, the figure is expected to drop to 2.6, and 2.51 in 2050. The result would be fewer young people to support the elderly.
Along the road toward an aging society, rapid growth in elderly population aged over 80 or those wholly or partially incapacitated would become a top challenge to the existing family and social care systems. As of the end of 2014, there are over 24 million people aged over 80, nearly 40 million of whom could not take care of themselves. It is predicted that by the 2050s, the population aged over 80 would reach around 100 million, according to the White Paper.
The White Paper also notes that only 2.1% of elderly people can have access to suitable care-giving institutions.
With a huge demand for care-givers and specialized nursing homes, there is a big gap in the market. Services that combine medical and daily care for the elderly are especially in huge demand. Care-givers who could provide long-term, targeted and professional services could fill the market gap and help aged people live decent lives.