Ageing Population in Hong Kong

If I were to show you diagrams of the age structure of Hong Kong in recent years, you would probably be surprised that the population of Hong Kong is currently ageing at a moderate pace - Ageing Population in Hong Kong introduction. According to statistics, when the new born babies start to become older persons, the population will age at a relatively fast pace in Hong Kong in the middle of next decade. An ageing population will have an impact on the labour force as the number of people in working ages will grow slower than the overall population growth. In fact, the ageing population not only has impact on the labour force but also in other aspects of the city.

As we all know, land resources in Hong Kong are very valuable. The land prices keep increasing throughout years. Everyone in Hong Kong is worried about buying their own house. For the ageing population, mostly elderly or retired with no incomes, they also worried about finding places to stay. Originally, the government can provide them with some public housing. But if the ageing population keeps increasing, the supply of housings will eventually be inadequate and the elderly will then be forced to find places that they cannot afford. Some of them may have no choice but go to the 24-hour treatment nursing home.

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The ageing population has put enormous financial pressure on the government. Apart from their housings, medical expenditure on the elderly is very significant as they are prone to many diseases not only infectious. Therefore, the support and subsidization from the government become very vital to most of the poor elderly. Not only should the government care about the physical health but also the mental health of the ageing population. Some single elderly may think they are the troublesome in society. Thus, the government needs to increase the number of social workers with the expanding ageing population.

There is an actual reason to which this problem is attributed — the low birth rate. Hong Kong’s low birth rate just like the reverse of ageing population, it become lower and lower in the recent years. This characteristic thanks to improving living quality that enables longer life as well as an urban lifestyle that does not need offspring to disturb. With the low birth rate, it is not surprising to have serious ageing problem in Hong Kong. The ageing population will straightly affect the number of labour force in Hong Kong. Solutions should be thought to deal with the problem.

For more sustainable solutions, methods such as extending retirement age, changes to the welfare system, stimulating workforce mobility may soothe this problem. As the saying goes, “An old in a home is like a treasure of a family”. Although ageing population may bring up some social problems in the future, but they should not be seen as bores. They had contributed to society when they were young, we should protect and respect them instead of treating them impolitely. We should face the challenge of ageing population in the future together.

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