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China - Increase In Proportion And Number Of Elderly, Increase Of Those Aged Eighty And Above, Aging Problems In Rural And Urban Areas

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Fertility in China has declined dramatically from more than six children per woman in the 1950s and 1960s to about 1.8–2.0 children per woman today, which is roughly the same as in the United States. Average life expectancy at birth for both sexes combined in China has increased from about 41 years in 1950 to 68.4 years in 1990, and 71 years in 2000, and will continue to increase (United Nations, 1999 vol. 1). The large cohorts of baby boomers, those born in the 1950s and 1960s, will become elderly in a couple of decades. Such demographic regimes have determined that the population of China, the most populous country in the world with about 1.3 billion people in 2000, is aging at an extraordinarily rapid speed and on a large scale. This article summarizes the demographic trends of aging, living arrangements, economic status, retirement patterns, and access to health and longterm care of the elderly in China.

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