Wed, Sep 21, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Aging population is a great opportunity, CEPD official says

GROWING OLD Taiwan is set to transition from an `aging' to an `elderly' society in record time, statistics show, but some officials aren't concerned

CNA , TAIPEI

Taiwan is predicted to become an "aged society" by 2018, as its population is aging at a rate more than double the pace in developed countries, a government official said yesterday.

Vice director of the Planning Department under the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) Kao Hsien-kuei (高仙桂) said that Taiwan will develop from an "aging society" to an "aged society" when the ratio of its people aged 65-years or above surpasses 14 percent.

It will take another 13 years for Taiwan to become an "aged society," which is double the pace of aging in Western and industrialized countries, Kao said, noting that Taiwan only became an "aging society" in 1993, when the portion of its population aged over 65 years reached 7 percent.

It took France 115 years to go through the same transition, while the US took 72 years and Britain 47 years, Kao reported.

Citing CEPD estimates, Kao said that Taiwan will be an "elderly society" in 2026, when its aged are expected to make up 20 percent of its total population, according to the definition set by the UN.

Although an aging population will unavoidably deal a blow to the country's economy, Kao said that it also provides opportunities for businesses to focus on insurance, financial services and health care products for elderly people.

An upcoming vice ministerial meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum slated for this month will also discuss challenges facing an aging society, she said.

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