It shouldn’t come as a shock, but the wires are buzzing with news of the just-released 2010 census numbers from China.
According to this article in the Wall Street Journal Asia, the census, conducted last year, shows that people over the age of 60 now account for 13.3% of China’s population, compared to 10.3% in 2000. And the reserve of future workers has dwindled: People under 14 now make up 16.6% of the population, down from 23% 10 years ago.
We all know the reason is the infamous ‘one-child’ policy.
They say China’s elderly population is expanding rapidly as Mao-era baby boomers retire, putting new burdens on society to cover the cost of their retirement. At the same time, China’s labor force is due to start shrinking in 2016, reversing the demographic phenomenon of a widening pool of low-cost labor that powered a manufacturing boom over the past three decades.
But we must remember that, although everyone is giddy with the growth of China, it is still a developing country. Many of the old are poor. It’s often said that China will get old, before it gets rich.
Needless to say, with a 50+ population greater than that of the entire USA, even the top 1/3 of this cohort presents a very attractive, untapped market opportunity for the savvy.