China's senior citizen population comprises nearly 12 percent of its total population; the absolute number being a whopping 159 million! This ratio is higher than the international level.
The number was 149 million in 2008, and is expected to reach 174 million by 2010, Xinhua quoted Yang Tuan, deputy director of Social Policy Studies Center under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, as saying at a forum on the work for senior citizens in Tianjin earlier this month.
It would continue to grow by 8 million annually after 2010, Yang warned.
The rising population of gray hairs, at an annual average of 3.3 percent in recent years, is posing a challenge for the country to ensure the well being of its senior citizens, experts said at the forum.
The government will improve the health care and social security systems to better benefit the gray hairs in the coming decades, said Wang Hui, an official in charge of social welfare and charity under the ministry.