Taiwan's future is 'super-aged': Health Dept

TAIWAN - Taiwan's population has been aging, and it is estimated that in 14 years, Taiwan would have evolved from "aging" to "aged," and eventually, "super-aged" according to the Department of Health (DOH), which released a Taiwan aging map yesterday.

Research done by the Bureau of Health Promotion (BHP) shows that, as those born during the 1946 post-war baby boom turn 65 this year, the Taiwanese population has officially joined the aging trend.

Taiwan has been regarded as an aging society since 1993 when the number of the elderly - those who are 65 years of age and above - reached seven per cent of the entire population. Judging from that growing trend, the Council for Economic Planning and Development estimated that in six years (by 2017), the number of the elderly would reach 14 per cent, and the Taiwanese population could be described as an "aged society." In another eight years, by 2025, Taiwan would be a super-aged society, with over 20 per cent of its population being the elderly.

Chiu Shiu-ti, director-general of the BHP, pointed out yesterday that the Taiwanese population is aging more rapidly than the western countries: while France is taking 115 years to gradually age, Sweden taking 85 years, and the United States taking 73 years, Taiwan has greatly aged within 24 years.

On top of the fact that the post-war baby boomers have recently joined the elderly crowd, the drop in fertility rate also acts as a major factor to such rapid aging, Chiu said.

The most direct impact an aging population poses on a nation's economic development is the change in its productive forces.

According to research statistics, the ratio between Taiwan's productive population (those aged between 15 and 64) and the elderly is currently 7:1; in 11 years (2022), the ratio would drop to 4:1, and in another six years (2028) it would drop to 3:1. By 2039, 28 years from now, the ratio of productive to elderly would have dropped to 2:1.

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