Web Stories Wednesday, February 28

The fresh data adds to concerns that the world’s No 2 economy’s growth prospects are diminishing due to fewer workers and consumers, while the rising costs of elderly care and retirement benefits put more strain on indebted local governments.

India surpassed China as the world’s most populous nation last year, according to estimates by the United Nations, fuelling more debate over the merits of relocating some China-based supply chains to other markets, especially as geopolitical tensions rise between Beijing and Washington.

Long-term, UN experts see China’s population shrinking by 109 million by 2050, more than triple the decline of their previous forecast in 2019.

China’s population aged 60 and over reached 296.97 million in 2023, about 21.1 per cent of its total population, up from 280.04 million in 2022.


China’s 2023 rate of 7.87 deaths per 1,000 people was higher than a rate of 7.37 deaths in 2022.

The country’s retirement-age population, aged 60 and over, is expected to increase to more than 400 million by 2035 – more than the entire population of the United States – from about 280 million people currently.

The state-run Chinese Academy of Sciences sees the pension system running out of money by 2035.

Zhu Guoping, a 57-year-old farmer in northwestern Gansu province, said his annual income of about 20,000 yuan (US$2,779.59) leaves his family with meagre savings.

If they have a bad harvest there is not enough money to pay for fertilisers and pesticides for the next year, Zhu said.

He will receive a 160 yuan monthly pension in three years once he turns 60, the equivalent of US$22.

“The money is definitely not enough,” Zhu said. “Maybe our children can provide us with some support in the future.”


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