Official statistics showing an increase in Taiwan’s 65-and-over population indicate that the nation is on course to go from being an “aging society” to an “aged society,” Deputy Minister of the Interior Hsiao Chia-chi (蕭家淇) said.
Senior citizens accounted for 11 percent of the country’s population as of the end of August, up from 10.9 percent at the end of 2011, according to the Ministry of the Interior’s statistics on life expectancy which were released on Tuesday last week.
Hsiao said that with an increase in the population of elderly citizens and a rising life expectancy, it was inevitable that Taiwan will be defined as “aged” — said by the UN to be any society in which 14 percent or more of its population are 65 years old or older.
A society is considered to be “aging” when 7 percent of its population are senior citizens, according to the UN.
Earlier this year, the ministry published an assessment by the Council for Economic Planning and Development that predicted Taiwan would become an “aged” society by 2018 and a “hyper-aged” society — 20 percent of the population 65 or over — by 2025.
Facing these structural changes in the country’s population, the ministry realized that it would soon have to tackle issues related to a population with greater numbers of old people, such as rising demand for facilities serving seniors in urban areas, Hsiao said.
The latest statistics confirmed that Taiwanese are living longer, with the average life expectancy rising to 79.51 years last year, up 0.36 years from 2011.
Life expectancy is now at the same level as in Germany and Britain, higher than in the US, China, Malaysia and the Philippines, and lower than in Canada, France, Japan, South Korea and Singapore, according to the data.