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Ageing Population in Hong Kong

  • Date Submitted: 05/20/2014 04:04 PM
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AGEING POPULATION IN HONG KONG

Population ageing in Hong Kong: challenges and opportunities
- ‘Population ageing’ is a pervasive, profound and enduring tide sweeping across the globe.

- Hong Kong is no exception. Whereas many people may still perceive population ageing as a long-term and distant subject, the consultation document released on 24 October 2013 by the Steering Committee on Population Policy (SCPP) revealed that our population would age at a faster pace than previously expected. In just a few years’ time, our workforce would embark on a persistent decline. Under a “do-nothing” scenario, population ageing could entail profound implications to our socio-economic development and public finance. This article elaborates on Hong Kong’s demographic challenges and the reasons behind, as well as the potential impacts they would bring to our society.

Population ageing: no longer a long-term matter
The latest projections by the Census and Statistics Department show that our population will continue to grow in the next 20-30 years, but only at a decelerating pace, from 7.2 million today to 8.5 million in 2041. There will be a startling shift in composition: in less than 30 years’ time, the number of elders aged 65 and above would surge from the current 1.0 million to 2.6 million in 2041. The median age would also climb to 52 by then, versus 43 today.

These figures suggest that by 2041, around one in three persons will be elders, up from the current level of one in seven. One in eight persons will be the older-old, i.e. aged 80 and above. Moreover, much of this upsurge is set to take place in the coming 10 years, with the elderly population expected to rise by more than half. As our population ages, the pool of working age people (aged 15-64) would dwindle, and be required to support an increasing number of dependents: while today one elder is supported by around five persons of working age, this figure is projected to fall dramatically to less...

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