The number of elderly citizens will double in the next 20 years, with those aged over 75 registering the fastest growth, a National Taiwan University (NTU) professor said yesterday.
Wu Shu-chiung, a public health policy professor, said at a ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of the NTU's population and gender research center that with post-World War II baby boomers aging, Taiwan's elderly population will show "explosive growth."
According to the latest tallies by the Council for Economic Planning and Development, Taiwan had about 2.14 million people aged 65 or older this year. Among them, 1.28 million were aged between 65 and 74, accounting for 59.8 percent of the total elderly population, while 860,000, or 40.2 percent of the total, were aged 75 or older.
By 2031, Wu said, the number of elderly citizens will reach an estimated 5.65 million, with those aged between 65 and 74 totaling about 3.2 million, or 56.7 percent. The number of people older than 74 are expected to increase 43.3 percent to 2.45 million.
Last year, she said, the working population -- those aged between 15 and 64 -- amounted to 71.3 percent percent of the total population, while the non-working population represented 28.7 percent.
Wu said the financial burden of Taiwan's working population will reach a serious level in 2051, when the ratio will be 55.6 percent versus 44.4 percent.
With women generally living five to six years longer than men, Wu said women will form the majority among the elderly. In 2000, the female-male ratio among those older than 65 was 997 to 898 and the ratio for those older than 80 was 149 to 134.
According to Wu's estimate, the female-male ratio among those aged 65 or older will be 1,231 to 1,125 by 2010, and the ratio will be 253 to 240 among those aged over 80. By 2030, the ratio will be 2,711 to 2,328 among those aged over 65 and 543 to 371 among people older than 80.