At the National People’s Congress on Friday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said China would gradually raise the retirement age during the 14th five-year plan period (2021-2025) and try to achieve an “appropriate fertility rate”, reported the South China Morning Post.
Preliminary 2020 birth rates for some Chinese provinces and cities came out in February and showed an alarming drop in the number of newborns, with one city reporting a 30% plunge from the year before, local media reported. This followed the birth rate in 2019 that was the lowest since 1949, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics.
China’s population is ageing much faster than other low- and middle countries, with citizens aged 65 and over expected to reach 300 million in five years from 176 million in 2019. At the same time the labour force population of people aged between 16-59, has fallen for eight straight years, according to official data.
This all adds up to higher pension and health care costs, with a drop in economic vitality – not the elements for social and political stability desired by Beijing, said the SCMP.