File photo: Flag of China. Photograph:( Others )
According to official data of 2018, people aged 65 and above account for some 11.9 per cent of the total population, but due to a gradual decrease of the population in proportion to those above 65 years, "will increase rapidly" over the coming decades.
People aged 65 years or older are expected to make up around 30 per cent of China's population in the next 30 years.
This is a significant rise as compared to the 11.9 per cent growth recorded in 2018, said an expert, cited by state-run China Daily on Monday.
"Rapid ageing of the population will place great pressure on the pension fund and the workforce, and family members will face unprecedented pressure to take care of the elderly," said Wang Guangzhou, a researcher at Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
According to official data of 2018, people aged 65 and above account for some 11.9 per cent of the total population, but due to a gradual decrease of the population in proportion to those above 65 years, "will increase rapidly" over the coming decades, said the expert.
Yuan Xin, population studies professor in Nankai University, said that the overall population decrease along with an ageing population could result in a fall of around 700 million people - in the working age group of 15 to 59 years - by 2050 from the current 897.3 million, marking a 22 per cent decline.
However, Yuan added that the changes in the economic structures would not lead to a shortage of workforce under the circumstances.
He said increasing the age of retirement from 60 to 65 could increase the workforce by some 100 million, reported China Daily.
"With the disappearance of the advantage of a massive cheap workforce, which played a very important role in China's rapid economic development over the past four decades, China should not continue to rely on labour-intensive industries for growth," Yuan added.
"We should focus on scientific and technological research and development, and keep improving the quality of the workforce to make up for the decline in numbers," he said.
According to "Green Book of Population and Labor", a report published by CASS in early January, the Chinese population is set to peak in 2029 at 1.44 billion and is expected to start declining afterwards.
The population is projected to be some 1.36 billion in 2025 and will reach around 1.2 billion in 2065, a similar number to that of the year 1996.
However, the report said that if the birth rate remains unchanged at 1.6 children per woman, the population will begin declining 2027 onward and will drop less than 1.2 billion in 2065, recording the same number as in the year 1990.
China had put an end to its strict one-child policy in 2015 to address the perils of a rapidly-ageing population.