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

China, US in constant touch to resolve trade issues

China and the United States are in constant touch to resolve pending trade and economic issues, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday. The comment came ahead of Sunday’s US deadline for another scheduled round of tariff increases on Chinese imports worth almost $160 billion. If a trade deal is not struck by Sunday, computer monitors and toys will be among the Chinese export items likely to be affected. Gao Feng, a ministry spokesman, said the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council has already worked out tariff exemptions on some soybean, pork and other products shipped from the US — the latest sign of tensions easing in the protracted trade conflict. The US seems to resort to brinkmanship by using a tariff deadline to pressure China in the ongoing trade talks for a phase one, preliminary deal, said Chen Wenling, chief economist at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges


By China Daily
December 13, 2019

Analysis, Economics

India, China step up the wooing but Rajapaksa in no hurry to align Sri Lanka

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will try to balance the competing interests of China, India in the region. The conversation in regional capitals after the emphatic win of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the Sri Lankan elections last month centres around a central question: Will he manage to pull a Sheikh Hasina on India and China? The reference, of course, is to the Bangladesh Prime Minister who many believe has managed to successfully push her country’s interests by balancing the competing strategic ambitions of China and India in South Asia. And Rajapaksa knows a thing or two about protecting what he believes are his country’s core interests. After all, he braved the Western world’s intense criticism – and India’s acute discomfort given its large domestic Tamil population – of the means adopted by him as Defence Minister in his brother and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s


By Ishan Joshi
December 12, 2019

Analysis, Economics

Nepal moves up in Human Development Index but still lags behind in South Asia

Nepal’s human development index of 0,579 indicates that people are living longer, are more educated and have greater incomes, according to the Human Development Report. Despite global progress in tackling poverty, hunger and disease, a ‘new generation of inequalities’ indicates that many societies are not working as they should and Nepal is not an exception, according to a new human development report released on Tuesday. The old inequalities were based on access to health services and education whereas the new generation of inequalities is based on technology, education and the climate, according to the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report. “Previously, we talked about wealth as a major driver for inequality. Now, countries like Nepal are in another inequality trap and that concerns


By The Kathmandu Post
December 12, 2019

Analysis, Economics

Report: US officials lied about Afghanistan

Civilian, military officials misled public for nearly two decades about status of war, Washington Post review of documents finds. For nearly two decades, senior US civilian and military officials didn’t tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan, The Washington Post reported on Monday after reviewing more than 2,000 pages of government documents. The officials made pronouncements they knew to be false and hid evidence that the war had become unwinnable, the newspaper said interviews with those officials show. John Sopko, the head of the federal agency that conducted the interviews, acknowledged to the Post that the documents show “the American people have constantly been lied to”. The newspaper said that two major claims in the documents are that US officials manipulated statistics to suggest to the American public that the war was being won and that successive


By China Daily
December 11, 2019

Analysis, Economics

Is polarisation driven by Hyper Information Disorder Syndrome?

In a study of Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Poland, Turkey and the US, writes ANDREW SHENG, scientists attribute populism to the rise of decisive leaders who push nationalism, demonise opponents and stir up issues that further divide societies. BANGKOK – Mass protests seem to be breaking out all over the place, from Hong Kong to Santiago, Tehran, Bolivia, Catalonia, Ecuador, France and Iraq to Lebanon.  The root causes of these protests have many local reasons, but there are common themes, such as inequality, corruption, incompetent governments, rural-urban migration, demography, anger, social media and demand for change. But underlying all these protests is the growing polarization of societies, increasingly manifested in viol


By Asia News Network
December 9, 2019

Analysis, Economics

7 of 10 Filipinos worried by presence of Chinese workers

China has increased its presence in the archipelago. The rising presence of Chinese workers in the country worry seven out of 10 adult Filipinos, according to the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, as the government recently launched a crackdown against Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogos) which mostly employ Chinese nationals. The noncommissioned survey, conducted from Sept. 27 to 30, found that 31 percent “worried a great deal,” while 39 percent are “somewhat worried.” Highest in Metro Manila The proportion of those who were worried about the increasing number of Chinese workers in the country was highest in Metro Manila at 75 percent, followed by the Visayas at 71 percent, Luzon outside Metro Manila (69 percent) and Mindanao (67 percent.) About half of the respondents agree that the rising number of Chinese workers is a threat to national secur


By Philippine Daily Inquirer
December 6, 2019