January 2, 2007


The graying of China: Growing ranks of elderly at risk of poverty with little state support (Jehangir S. Pocha, January 2, 2007, Boston Globe)

One of the world's oldest nations is getting older. China's population of 1.3 billion is graying rapidly and the country, which now has about 146 million senior citizens, will have almost 290 million by 2025 -- nearly the entire population of the United States -- according to a study released last month by China's State Council.

With the number of people 60 and over increasing by 6 million a year and few social welfare programs, the fate of China's aged is uncertain. In areas such as central Chongqing and Sichuan provinces, where aging levels exceed the national average, the lack of government support for the elderly is clearly felt.

"We have nothing to do, and we sit around all day playing mah-jongg," said Dai Yong Fa, a senior in You Liang village in Chongqing, as she gestured to the tables of retirees along the main street of her village. "We get nothing from the government, and we have nothing -- even our kids are away in the cities working."

The race is on to see whether the dependent elderly or the surplus single young men get killed off first.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 2, 2007 9:24 AM
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