See More on Facebook

Analysis, Economics

Asia’s Aging Population

Once predicted to be the Asian century, the 21st century may actually see many countries in Asia coming to grips with its aging population.


Written by

Updated: February 2, 2018

Once predicted to be the Asian century, the 21st century may actually see many countries in Asia coming to grips with its aging population.

Japan is the oft-cited example of a top-heavy demographic, a term that describes a population where the elderly outnumbers the youth and thus placing strain on the country’s support infrastructure and finances.

But Japan will not be the only country in Asia with a population crisis as the 21st century progresses.

As countries in Asia progress, their youth are having less children or are putting off marriage until a later age while the rapid progress of healthcare ensures that its aging population lives longer.

Countries like Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and even China will have a crisis of demographics by the turn of the 22nd century as the shrinking youth population accepts the financial and social burden of caring for the elderly, according to the Asian Developmen.t Bank

The ADB say that governments across the region are ill-prepared for this eventuality citing the lack of pension schemes across the region.

According to ADB statistics only 10 percent of China’s rural population is covered by any pension scheme while only 14 percent of India’s workforce is covered.

“As the population dividend that fueled Asia’s rapid growth becomes a tax, the region must find innovative ways to sustain economic expansion and provide better support for its growing elderly population,” said Juzhong Zhuang, ADB’s Deputy Chief Economist

Even middle-income countries like Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia will be affected by these demographic trends.

It is predicted that Vietnam will become an aged society, a society where the elderly outnumber the youth, by 2037 and Thailand by 2039.

The International Monetary Fund has called on countries around Asia to use Japan as an example and act early or risk the growth rates that were sustained in the earlier part of the century.

Experts say that the shifting demographics do not necessarily have to be a burden but can also be an opportunity for change and inclusiveness.

The IMF say that a shrinking workforce could mean more opportunity for women in the workplace and that migrant worker programs can offset some of the burden placed on the population.

“By encouraging foreign workers, including through guest worker programs, migration can soften the adverse growth impact of rapid aging by partially offsetting the expected decline in the domestic labor force,” the IMF said in a report.

Studies by the United Nation’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs has pointed to immigration as a way to offset a shrinking population. But whether such programs are socially feasible for societies unaccustomed to large-scale migration remains to be seen.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Cod Satrusayang
About the Author: Cod Satrusayang is the Managing Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Analysis, Economics

Aung San Suu Kyi wants foreign investment amid international pressure

Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi wants the world to see her country as a business and investment opportunity waiting to be seized. Suu Kyi made the pitch that Myanmar is “the last frontier of Southeast Asia” in a keynote speech at the Asean Business and Investment Summit, on the sidelines of the main Asean Summit, which will be held from Monday to Thursday in Singapore. Suu Kyi acknowledged that Myanmar very behind in this respect, saying “this may sound old hat to you, but it’s very very new to us. We want you to know we are catching up with the rest of the world.” There is certainly a long way for Myanmar to go. Just weeks ago, in late October, the World Bank’s Doing Business 2019 report, an index that evaluates “the regulations that enha


By Quinn Libson
November 14, 2018

Analysis, Economics

President Xi emphasizes role of Hong Kong, Macau

Both Hong Kong and Macao were told to integrate with nation’s overall development. President Xi Jinping underlined on Monday the unique and irreplaceable role of the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions for China’s reform and opening-up in the new era. He also called on the two regions to better integrate themselves with the nation’s overall development. Xi’s remarks came as he met with a delegation of about 210 representatives from the two SARs who were in Beijing to celebrate the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up. The position and role of Hong Kong and Macao will only be strengthened rather than weakened, Xi said. The two regions should continue to play a leading role and enable more capital, technology and talent to take part in the country’s high-quality development and in the new round of high-level opening-up, he said. People of the two regions should continu


By China Daily
November 13, 2018

Analysis, Economics

Report of NK’s ‘undisclosed’ missile bases not new, S. Korea says

South Korea’s presidential office on Tuesday played down a new report on North Korea’s “undisclosed” missile sites. South Korea’s government said that it’s going too far to call the North’s continued activity a “great deception” given that it has no specific agreement to dismantle or disclose the facilities mentioned in the report issued by Beyond Parallel, a group at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The group said it has located 13 out of an estimated 20 missile operating bases undeclared by the secretive communist regime. “The dispersed deployment of these bases and distinctive tactics employed by ballistic missile units are combined with decades of extensive camouflage, concealment and deception practices to maximize the survival of its missile units from pre-emptive strikes and during wartime operations,” the report


By The Korea Herald
November 13, 2018

Analysis, Economics

‘Forced repatriation’ to pose security risk

International crisis warns that forced repatriation of Rohingya refugees could pose serious security risks. The International Crisis Group has warned of serious security risks of “forced repatriation” of the Rohingya, just as Myanmar and Bangladesh prepare for the November 15 return of the refugees sheltered in Bangladesh. In a statement, the Brussels-based global advocacy body said Rohingyas strongly opposed the repatriation move and would do whatever they can to resist it. “This [forced repatriation] will increase tension in the camps and could lead to confrontations between refugees and Bangladesh security forces and greatly complicate humanitarian operations. “A botched repatriation attempt could potentially set back peace and development efforts by years,” said the statement released yesterday. It comes two weeks after Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed to begin the repatriation


By Daily Star
November 13, 2018

Analysis, Economics

No further dismantlement at NK missile site

North Korea’s key missile site has not been dismantled further since August, a US website monitoring the regime said Thursday. North Korea has pledged to dismantle a missile engine testing site and a launch pad in Dongchang-ri as part of its stated commitment to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. 38 North said satellite imagery from Oct. 31 indicates there has been no additional dismantlement activity since August. “Components that were previously removed remain stacked on the ground at both locations,” 38 North said in an article posted on its website. Meanwhile, the imagery shows new equipment, possibly for ventilation,


By The Korea Herald
November 9, 2018

Analysis, Economics

Thailand’s KBank to launch e-wallet, invests $50 million US in Grab Taxi

Grab on Thursday announced a partnership with Thailand’s Kasikornbank to launch mobile payment application GrabPay by KBank. The mobile wallet, which is slated to be launched as soon as early 2019, will allow Grab customers to pay for transport and delivery services, transfer funds, purchase products and services online, and make QR-code payments in restaurants and shops across Thailand. Through Thailand’s national e-payments scheme called PromptPay, all three million QR-enabled merchants in the country will be able to accept GrabPay by KBank.


By The Straits Times
November 9, 2018