China facing demographic challenge of an aging population

In the US, political candidates frequently refer to the looming crisis of how to care for the aging Baby Boomers with fewer resources. And the challenge is made even greater considering how politically powerful and active the older generation has been in recent years. In China, however, there is a notable absence of policies aimed at coping with its aging population.

In 2009, China had approximately 178 million people over the age of 60, yet currently only has 38,000 institutions serving the elderly, enough for about 1.6 percent of the population over 60, according to the World Bank.

“In towns and villages, the situation is far worse. “If we can’t help people in Beijing, you can forget about any opportunities for helping the rural old people,” says Jing Jun, a professor of anthropology at Tsinghua University,” reports Bloomberg Businessweek.

Recognizing the reality of the aging population, several regions in China recently announced an increase in their minimum wage – in some cities by as much as 13 percent. The increase, however, was met with cynicism, not elation.

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