Published on: 2015-03-24
China boasts the most spectacular sustained economic growth in world history. But there is a fly in the ointment: it also has the world’s largest elderly population.
As a consequence of its one-child policy, its share of the population aged 60 and over will spike alarmingly from 12% in 2010 to 34% in 2050, creating a tremendous socioeconomic burden for both families and government. Studies by the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) show that 23% of the elderly are poor, 38% are somewhat handicapped in daily activities, and 40% suffer from serious depressive symptoms.
These figures underline the vulnerabilities that raise a red flag in terms of the economic, social, physical and psychological well-being of China’s elderly population and point to the priorities for future policy action. Studies using the CHARLS data assess the public and private responses to these vulnerabilities and point out priority areas for future policy action.
About Albert Park
Albert Park juggles several roles: Director of the Institute for Emerging Market Studies, Chair Professor of Social Science, Professor of Economics, and Senior Fellow of HKUST’s Institute for Advanced Study. His international profile includes Research Fellowship of the Center for Economic Policy Research (London), the Institute for the Study of Labor (Germany), and the Human Capital Opportunities Working Group (Chicago). After his PhD at Stanford, he joined the University of Michigan and Oxford University. As a development economist, his specialty is the Chinese economy, having published extensively in leading academic journals on its economics of aging, poverty and inequality, human capital and employment, and firm performance. A co-Principal Investigator for CHARLS, he is a darling of the international media, having written editorially or had his work cited by the Economist, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times, also with appearances on Bloomberg and BBC TV among others.
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[Conference] Conference on Challenges of Population Aging in Asia