Grand challenges

Population ageing brings about many demographic challenges to the societies around the globe. These challenges, if handled well however, translate into opportunities. Because our ageing population, at the same time, create new demands in many aspects, such as better assistive technologies, life-long education, housing models to age in place and many more... 

Here below are some grand challenges the ageing population may bring along.

To develop and nurture a population that will continuously support and drive Hong Kong’s socio-economic development, and to engender a socially inclusive and cohesive society that allows individuals to realise their potential.

Population policy, Hong Kong Government

Lower economic growth

Population ageing lowers labor force participation rate, "from 58.8% in 2012 down to 49.5% in 2041". As more and more baby-boomers retire in the foreseeable future, there will be more people leaving than entering our labor force.

Hong Kong's labor force is expected to peak at 3.71 million in 2018 and decline to 3.51 million in 2035.

Reference:  Population policy, Hong Kong Government

 

Fiscal concerns

As more and more people are leaving the labor force, the declining number of working age people will have to support an increasing number of dependents.

Examining the elderly dependency ratio, which according to the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department, is the number of persons aged 65 and over per 1000 persons aged between 15 and 64- our elderly dependency ration would rise from 218 at 2016 to 573 at 2056.

Reference:

Census and Statistics Department, Hong Kong Government.

If people can experience these extra years of life in good health and if they live in a supportive environment, their ability to do the things they value will be little different from that of a younger person.

World Health Organization

Increase in public spending

According to the population policy, ageing population leads to increased public spending on healthcare and elderly services. This would slower growth in tax revenues and higher spending demands will impact on our fiscal sustainability.

Net migration as the major source of population growth

Net migration led by people from the Mainland and a rising number of ethnic minorities has resulted in the incrtease of net migration of 344,000 in 2001 to 451,200 in 2011.

 

These sources of population growth is able to provide a much-needed refill to our labor force, in particular sectors facing a manpower shortage such as construction and care-giving.

 

In the population policy report, it is clearly stated that the Hong Kong society would benefit economically and socially should we can cultivate a more inclusive and cohesive environment that helps people with different backgrounds to release their full potential.

Acknowledgement

Institutional partner

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Funded by

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Technological support

HKU HREC project reference no.: EA1810008

 

Vivian Lou PhD

Director, Sau Po Centre on Ageing (CoA)

Associate Professor, Department of Social Work & Social Administration

The University of Hong Kong

Tel: (852) 39174835 / 28315334

E-mail: wlou@hku.hk

HKU Research Hub: 

https://hub.hku.hk/cris/rp/rp00607

CoA weblink: http://ageing.hku.hk/

Geron-Infusion Education (GIE) is a project initiated and funded by ZeShan Foundation.

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