China should increase investment in care for the elderly, President Xi Jinping told a meeting of the country’s top leaders on its aging population, official Xinhua news agency reported.
“Our policies measures, work base, institutional mechanisms, and so forth are still deficient leading to a fairly large gap with the hope of the elderly to enjoy happiness later in life,” it quoted Xi as saying on Friday.
For the first time in decades China’s working age population fell in 2012 and the world’s most populous nation could be the first country in the world to get old before it gets rich.
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China’s population is set to peak at about 1.45 billion by 2050 when one in every three people is expected to be more than 60 years old, with a shrinking proportion of working adults to support them.
With the world’s largest elderly population and the fastest aging population, facing the problems was an “important responsibility,” Xi told the Communist Party’s powerful Politburo.
“Meeting the various needs of the huge elderly population and properly solving the social problems that an aging population brings are matters relating to the overall development of the country and welfare of the people,” Xinhua quoted Xi as saying.
China’s aging population is one of a handful of factors many analysts cite as underpinning expectations of a lower medium-term economic growth outlook.
In October, China announced the further relaxation of its “one-child policy” in an effort to alleviate demographic strains on the economy.