BEIJING, July 14 (Xinhuanet) --China saw the largest annual increase in its aged population last year, with the number of people aged 60 and above grew by 7.25 million to 167.14 million, representing 12.5 percent of its total population.
The increase of its aged population by half a percentage point over last year will be a huge challenge for the country, said Wu Yushao, deputy director of the Office of China National Committee on Aging on Tuesday.
The economy, the retirement system and services for the elderly are still too weak to handle the challenge, the Xinhua news agency quoted Wu as saying.
Meanwhile, the number of people in their 80s or older approached 19 million last year, and will rise by 1 million annually, the Office said in a report released Tuesday, noting the average life expectancy is over 73 years old.
The statistics revealed that the number of urban residents participating in the basic old-age pension program hit 235 million in 2009, 7.3% higher than that in 2008.
Meanwhile, the central budget provided 132.6 billion yuan as basic old-age insurance subsidy, demonstrating a 69.7% year-on-year increase, according to the report.
In addition, 320 counties from 31 provinces nationwide have been chosen as pilot areas to exercise new modules of the countryside's social pension insurance, with 15 million old people aged 60 year-old or over having received the basic old-age pension from Central finance.
The central budget arranged 4.75 billion yuan as urban residents' medical insurance subsidy in 2009, up 50.1% over the same period in 2008. 400 million urban residents participated in the program, including more than 60 million retired people and the aged.
The country now has 38,000 old-age welfare institutions of various types, which provided services for more than 2.1 million old people by 2009.