China- Preparing for an Aging World
The world’s population is aging at a faster rate. Declined fertility rates combined with steady improvements in life expectancy over the latter of the half of the 20th century have resulted in dramatic growth in the elderly population around the globe (Didi, 2014, p. 1). Individuals aged 0ver 65 make a greater share of the population of the world than ever before, and this is expected to increase in the 21st century.
The Cause of the Issue of Aging
Research indicates that by 2009, the number of Chinese aged above 60 were approximately 167 million. The Chinese government anticipates that the number of the elderly population by 2020 will be 250 million. The population of China is rapidly aging because of a reduction in mortality rate and the one child policy (Huang, 2014, p.1). For instance, by 2005, there was an increase in the number of people aged above 65 years to 6.96% of the entire population. According to the New England journal of Medicine, a rapid reduction in the birth rate of China together with an improvement in life expectancy has resulted in an increase in the number of elderly people and the ratio between adult parents and children (English.cntv.cn, 2011, p.1).
Secondly, improvement in medical health care that result in a possibility that children will survive together with advances like availability of birth control that enables individuals to achieve similar objectives with reduced births (Prb.org, 2014, p.1).
Another cause for the issue of aging is medical interventions that reduce maternal mortality, hence increasing life expectancy of the female. This has resulted in an increase in the number of women aged 65 and above contributing to an aging population.
Advantages of an Aging Population
The aging population also contributes positively to the community through offering their services. Because of the drastic increase in life expectancy in China and other nations like Australia, the majority of the baby boomers will reach their retirement age when they are mentally and physically healthier compared with the other preceding generations. In the past, most women volunteered to work in the community compared with the present situations where there is an increasing number of working class women (Kevin and Wan, 2008). Voluntary services are a gauge social capital and therefore act as an indicator of a healthy civil society. The aging population also participates in the community through being club members. They also take part in theatres, musical concerts, and art galleries more often than the young people.
Lower Crime Rate
There is a likelihood that the older generation adheres to the law and they are less likely to be involved in criminal activities. According to the Australian Institute of Criminology (2002), there will be a reduction in crime rates by approximately 16% by 2050, when there will be an increase in the number of the aging population in Australia. This clearly indicates that there will be a reduction in crimes rates leading to saving of money in prisons and policing expenses in the near future (Prowle, 2014, p.1). This is because the majority of the baby-boomer will be above 65 and an aging population is less likely to commit offenses against people and property’s.
The aging populations usually play a significant role in upholding and sustaining informal social networks that usually bring communities and families together. The older generation is also said to be net providers and this is because they provide financial, practical, social, and childcare to their family members. Grandparents also play a vital social role in situations where individuals have more living parents than children (Ilo.org, 2014, p.1). They also create more job opportunities hence enable the economy to respond to their needs. The elderly also provides opportunities to cater for the needs of the old generation by creating more job opportunities. A study carried out in Australia indicated that a consumer would spend less on substitute and non-essential items unlike expenditure on recreation and leisure.
Disadvantages of an Aging Population
Increased Dependency Rates
It is evident that an increase in the number of people above 65 results in a reduction in workforce. This implies that there will be a large number of people claiming for pensions and a small number of the population working and paying taxes, resulting in a high dependency ratio (UK Parliament, 2014, p.1). It is approximated that income tax is most likely to increase in China to support the aging population. Those in workforce may be forced to pay higher taxes and this discourages investors from investing and acts as a disincentive to work.
Increased Fiscal Gap
The fiscal gap shows an imbalance between income and expenditure of a given nation. An aging population of China requires the government to increase its expenditure on pensions and health, while they pay fewer taxes because they are not working (Woo, Kwok, Sze, & Yuan, 2002). All these factors will result in a negative effect on the economy of China because it can find itself going in for more debts. Western pharmaceutical manufacturers may be in a position to increase sales for the aging population in China, while the government of China may be forced to change its budgetary policy to meet heightened expenses.
Another disadvantage is increased burden of looking after the elderly. China’s one child policy implies that only one person is charged with the responsibility of supporting and providing social care to the elderly. As the generation of one-policy ages, the government may be forced to make other provisions in order to support the population.
Solutions to the Aging Population
Presently, China has a vital foreign exchange surplus and a high savings rate among its citizens. China can be in a position to solve pension problems if its savings can be invested at a sufficiently high rate of return. The government of China has established a subsidized pension scheme to cover more than 130 million people nationwide (Hodin, 2014, p.1). For instance, in the United States of America, families take part in providing social care to the elderly
In conclusion, the elderly form a significant part of the community. For instance, they reduce crime rates, result in familial advantages, and contribute to the community. There is need for any nation to act appropriately to support the aging population. The aging population also participates in the community through being club members.
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