Beijing: Grappling with the world's biggest senior citizen population, China's President Xi Jinping held a high-level meeting with officials after the number of people above 60 years in the world's most populous country crossed 220 million, 16 per cent of the total population.
Xi, who heads the Communist Party of China (CPC) along with the members of the powerful Politburo of the party, attended a group study on the "state and future of a graying society" on Saturday, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. CPC leaders hold such group studies to hold in-depth discussions on critical issues to work out appropriate policies.
The meeting was held as the latest figures showed that the population above 60 years has crossed 220 million people constituting 16 per cent of the total population, far sooner than expected.
Chinese capital is already feeling the heat with numbers of pensioners climbing up to 23.4 per cent of the total 22 million population. The Beijing local government expects 30 per cent of the city's population to be aged 60 or above by 2030.
By 2020, the city will pay out 200 billion yuan ($30.7 billion) in old-age pensions and the amount is expected to surge to 670 billion (about $111 billion) in 2030, Li Hongbing, deputy head of the Beijing Civil Affairs Bureau, has been quoted as saying by the official media recently.
The number of those aged between 16 and 59 will decrease to 896 million in 2020 and 824 million in 2030, while those aged 60 and over will grow to 253 million in 2020 and 365 million in 2030, new data provided by the Population and Development Studies Centre at the Renmin University of China said.
China has already scrapped over three-decades-old one child policy, allowing couples to have two children but the policy change has not drawn positive response from the public as many fear second child will be a burden due to heavy costs of education and health care.
Addressing the study group, Xi while calling for stepping up efforts to improve health care and social benefits to old age population, also pointed to the bright prospects of the old-age business, given the huge demand for products and services. He said government support should foster new growth points. With the world's largest number of senior citizens, China has improved elder care, Xi said.