I’ve been both reading and writing about this for years, and watched Japan enter demographic decline up close. For more thorough treatment, Vaclav Smil is a good read:
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This, meanwhile, is a good, basic journalistic introduction:
“Wang Fuchuan lies in bed wearing a quilted black jacket, with two comforters pulled up to his chin to keep out the chilly November air. The heating atÂ Beijing Songtang Caring HospiceÂ is broken and the 90-year-oldâ€™s nostrils are stuffed with toilet paper to stop them dripping.
Cockroaches scurry across the floor of his room, which has no running water or toilet. His possessions, a few articles of clothing, are in a plastic bag under his bed next to a pink wash bowl with a sliver of soap. His only entertainment is a transistor radio.
Wang counts himself lucky. While he has no family or savings, he fought against the Japanese and Kuomintang in the 1940s, so the government pays the clinicâ€™s monthly fee of 2,000 yuan ($318). His 200-yuan pension buys food.
â€œA lot of people my age canâ€™t afford to be here,â€ Wang says. â€œThe food isnâ€™t too good, but I have nothing else to complain about.â€
Wang is in the vanguard of a looming demographic shift forÂ China, Bloomberg Businessweek reports in its Jan. 9 issue. The latest government census shows 178 million Chinese were over 60 in 2009. That figure could reach 437 million — one third of the population — by 2050, the United Nations forecasts. While the elderly were looked after in the past by their children, urbanization and the nationâ€™s one-child policy have eroded the tradition of family care.
â€œItâ€™s a demographic tsunami,â€ says Joseph J. Christian, a fellow at the Asia Center at theÂ Harvard Kennedy School, and former DLA Piper partner in Hong Kong, who specializes in senior housing issues in China. â€œThe whole multiÂgenerational housing model has disappeared.
Please follow the link to continue: China’s Demographic Decline Begins