Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. China News .




SINO DAILY
Hong Kong in quest for youth as ageing population looms
by Staff Writers
Hong Kong (AFP) Dec 29, 2013


Schools replaced by care homes and a once-vibrant economy dulled by one of Asia's oldest populations: experts fear this is the Hong Kong of the not-too-distant future.

One in three people in the city is expected to be 65 years old or above by 2041, threatening to curb economic growth in the major financial hub, the Hong Kong government has warned.

"It is a huge concern for our population development," Hong Kong University social sciences professor Paul Yip told AFP, explaining that the economy will take a hit if the ageing trend continues.

"There will be more people but less that are working, so fewer people will be contributing to the economy of Hong Kong," Yip said.

While some critics argue that government forecasts for 2041 fail to make allowances for migration or those who will continue to work beyond the retirement age of 65, the territory faces clear challenges on an economic and social front.

The impending demographic problem is reflected in programmes such as Eldpathy, set up by Hong Kong University of Science and Technology students, which aims to foster more empathy towards the elderly by encouraging teenagers to try on special movement-restricting suits designed to simulate the sensation of age on the body.

"The plight of the ageing population in Hong Kong is getting more and more serious," Eldpathy co-founder Samantha Kong told AFP.

Choosing pets over kids

For others, the problem is not so much a high population of elderly but Hong Kong's lack of children.

Financial pressure, career-driven mentalities, limited space and exorbitant property costs are seen as key drivers of a fertility rate that is one of the lowest in the world by some measure, with an average 1.20 births per woman according to the World Bank.

"Young people do want to get married, but they just cannot afford to rent a place to live," Yip said.

They tend to stay with parents longer in the hope of saving enough money to buy a flat, meaning that they end up waiting longer before getting married and having children, he said.

Social trends in Hong Kong also indicate that an increasing number of women are choosing not to get married. Those who do tie the knot do so much later and have a very small time window to start families, he said.

Many married couples "would rather have a pet than a child", added Yip.

Based on current fertility and mortality rates, if Hong Kong does not do anything about its ageing problem it will have a median age of 56.3 years by 2040, according to the United Nations.

Based on the same factors, Singapore will hit 50.3 years, China 45.9 years and Thailand 45.7 years, according to UN data.

A higher life expectancy and low birthrate will also raise Hong Kong's dependency ratio from 355 dependent persons per 1,000 people now to 712 per 1,000 in 2041.

Hong Kong's semi-autonomy from China expires in 2047, and experts say it is not clear how this will affect its demographic make up.

The former British colony was returned to China in 1997 with its own political and legal system, that guarantees civil liberties not seen on the mainland, until 2047.

Hong Kong chief secretary Carrie Lam, who heads a committee which in October started a four-month public consultation on the issue, said the city must broaden and diversify its workforce to tackle the challenge of ageing.

The committee has also considered attracting talent from overseas and mainland China, which has brought opposition from the city's unions.

Allowing well-educated mainland Chinese parents to have children in Hong Kong has also been a suggestion to help reverse the demographic trend.

Up until the end of 2012, thousands of mainland women came to give birth in the territory and gained residency rights for their children, but local families complained they were taking up limited hospital beds.

The city has since banned pregnant mainlanders whose husbands were not from Hong Kong from giving birth at local hospitals.

For some, the spectre of a city with a diminishing work force and lack of youthful dynamism is a very real worry.

"It wouldn't really be a city I would like to live in," says professor Yip.

.


Related Links
China News from SinoDaily.com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





UAV Payloads 2014, 24 - 25 June - London, UK
SINO DAILY
500 local Chinese lawmakers resign in fraud scandal
Hong Kong Dec 28, 2013
More than 500 municipal lawmakers in one Chinese province have stood down following an electoral fraud scandal, as Beijing ramps up its sweeping anti-corruption crackdown, state media reported Saturday. The 512 municipal officials in China's central Hunan province resigned, were disqualified or dismissed after being caught taking bribes from 56 representatives of the provincial People's Cong ... read more


SINO DAILY
Finnish Santa Claus wants to go global, all year round

Finland looks to old foe Russia for new investment

Russia files first WTO complaint against EU

Rusal starts legal case against London Metal Exchange

SINO DAILY
To grow or to defend: How plants decide

Extinction risk prompts ban on fishing for caviar-producing sturgeon

The fate of the eels

Genetic discovery points the way to much bigger yields in tomato, other flowering food plants

SINO DAILY
French defence minister in Africa's Sahel for security talks

S.Sudan president, rebel chief due in Ethiopia for peace talks: Addis Ababa

DR Congo arrests rebel leader accused of war crimes

Outside View: Memories of Mandela's Christmas in prison

SINO DAILY
Japanese automakers' sales in China surge in November

GM, Ford to recall more than 1.5 mln cars in China

Golf skateboard aims to rejuvenate 'old man's sport'

China city caps car-buying to curb pollution

SINO DAILY
Fukushima operator readies new restructuring plan

Westinghouse Expands European Nuclear Center To Meet Growing Demand

Solvay and AREVA team up to develop new thorium applications

Romania says Enel, ArcelorMittal exit nuclear project

SINO DAILY
Israeli researchers say Samsung S4 phone has security vulnerability

Forecast: 2014 will be year of encryption

Social network spying could lead to low returns

Hacking fears outweigh privacy concerns: US survey

SINO DAILY
US welcomes deal on relocating air base in Japan

Japan's PM set for breakthrough on controversial US base

China must retaliate for Japan PM shrine visit: media

Abe's shrine visit raises risk of conflict: analysts

SINO DAILY
Austria's wind industry laments new zoning restrictions

Wind energy: TUV Rheinland certifies PowerWind wind turbines

Renewable Energy Infrastructure Fund acquires 16 MW wind power asset from O2

Morgan Advanced Materials Delivers Superior Insulation Solution To Wind Farm




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement