Beijing: By 2042, China's ageing citizens will account for more than 30 percent of the country's total population, according to an official report.
   
China's National Working Commission on Ageing (CNWCA) in its recent report said China's ageing population is increasing rapidly while country's birth rate remains low.
   
It is estimated that the percentage of China's ageing population will reach 16.7 per cent of total population in next five years, and about 30 per cent by 2042.
   
According to international standards, a country or region is considered to have an "ageing society" when the number of people at and above 60 reaches 10 percent or more of its total population.
   
Currently, China has more than 178 million people at or above the age of 60, which is more than 13 percent of its total population, Li Jianguo, Vice-chairman and General Secretary of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) said in his report on the implementation of the Law on Protection of Senior Citizens' Rights.
   
According to last year's census, China's population had increased to 1.3397 billion. By 2030, there will be an average of 2.5 people of working age for every senior citizen living in China, according to Li. The ratio stood at five to one last year.
    
Li submitted the report to the NPC Standing Committee, the country's top legislature.
     
He said that China entered the society of grey hairs in 1999, when the country was still industrialising and urbanizing.
   
Li's report suggested ways to tackle the problem, such as establishing a national elderly care system, strengthening social security for the elderly and improving laws that protect their rights and interests.
   
Besides grim prospects of rapid increase old population, China is also weighed down by low birth rate as a result of one Child policy. The annual growth slowing down from 1.07 percent to 0.57 per cent in last decade.
   
According to new population census 16.6 per cent of the country's population was aged 14 or younger, which was 6.29 percentage points lower than that in the 2000 census.

(Agencies)