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In 2023, India's population surpassed that of China, making China no longer the world's most populous country. In 2022, the birth rate in China decreased by 850,000 compared to 2021, indicating a decline in population growth. With 1.4 billion people in China, the number of elderly individuals is increasing. Currently, there are over 200 million people aged 65 and above, and 270 million people aged 60 and above. By 2035, the population of individuals aged 60 and above in China is expected to exceed 400 million. So, will the elderly care industry become popular and lucrative in the future? Let's discuss it together today.
How many elderly people are there in China now? In 2022, there were already over 200 million people aged 65 and above, and 270 million people aged 60 and above. The responsibility of caring for these elderly individuals typically falls on their grown-up children. However, there's a crucial factor to consider—the previous one-child policy. Implemented in 1979, the one-child policy allowed only one child per couple. This policy was abolished on January 1, 2016. Those born between 1979 and 2016 are mostly only children in their families. After marriage, they not only have to take care of their own parents but also their spouse's parents, resulting in the responsibility of caring for four elderly individuals per couple. Besides the elderly, they may also have to take care of their own children, leading to significant stress. Many people end up placing their parents in nursing homes, while others hire caregivers to assist their parents.
How do Chinese elderly individuals choose to spend their old age? Most prefer to age at home, considering it the best place. However, aging at home is becoming increasingly challenging. If the elderly can take care of themselves, that's not an issue. But if they are frail or ill and need assistance, aging at home becomes difficult. Their children have jobs, lack experience in caring for sick parents, and have limited time to provide care. Wealthier individuals may hire caregivers, but for those with less financial means, the situation becomes complicated. Many elderly individuals with low retirement pensions cannot afford caregivers. Some end up in nursing homes, but China's elderly care industry is still in its early stages, with only 38,000 nursing homes in 2022 for approximately 270 million people aged 60 and above. To put it in perspective, the UK, with a population of less than 70 million, has about 17,000 nursing homes for around 15 million people aged 60 and above. China likely needs more nursing homes and caregivers.
Now, more and more companies are looking to profit from the elderly care industry, knowing that China will have an increasing number of elderly individuals. However, due to the scarcity of nursing homes and the high cost of many, some nursing homes struggle to provide adequate care due to the overwhelming number of elderly residents. Will China's elderly care industry improve with time? We will likely find out in the next decade.
If you were a company owner, would you consider opening a nursing home? Feel free to share your thoughts and comments with us!