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China's aged population growing at fastest rate in 60 years

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CHANGCHUN, Aug. 26 -- China's aged population is growing at its fastest rate since 1949, the China National Committee on Aging said Wednesday.

China's aged population would increase by 8 million this year, up from a 3.11-million annual increase a decade ago which marked the beginning of an aging society, said Wu Yushao, deputy director of the office of the committee.

The aged population is expected to grow from 160 million in 2008 to 200 million by 2014, Wu said.

With the rapid growth of the aging population, China faces challenges in the care of "empty-nest" parents, that is one or both parents living by themselves after the children have left the home.

Nearly half, or 49.7 percent, of elderly persons in urban areas live in empty-nests. In rural areas, 48.9 percent of the elderly live alone or with grandchildren, as workers often migrate seeking employment in cities.