New index ranks Chinese cities in terms of elderly care

A group of elderly men take a rest on their wheelchairs at a park in Beijing. Photo:

Beijing-based Jiazi Credit on Thursday released a research report, which makes an in-depth study of China's aging population structure and measures Chinese cities' ability to offer quality elderly care services.

The Report on Elderly Care Index of Chinese Cities, which was prepared by the Beijing-headquartered company in partnership with Competitiveness Think Tank, a non-governmental research institution, chose 36 cities across China including four municipalities, 27 provincial capitals and five cities with independent planning status as its research target, and adopted quantitative and qualitative analytical approaches to measure whether the cities can meet the demands of the elderly people.

Using numerous indicators including growth rate of the aging population, dependency ratio, government investment in the elderly care sector and regulatory environment, the report gave Xiamen, a city in southern China's Fujian province, 94.1 points in a 100-point assessment system to come on the top of the list of 10 best cities for senior citizens to live. Xiamen is followed by Nanjing, Shenzhen, Ningbo, Beijing, Yinchuan, Guangzhou, Urumqi, Shijiazhuang and Shanghai on the comprehensive ranking list, according to the report.

The report also classified the surveyed cities into three categories. In the municipality category, Beijing got the highest points, followed by Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing. In the provincial capital category, Nanjing, Yinchuan and Guangzhou were the top three cities with the highest points. In the category set for five cities with independent planning status, Xiamen claimed the top spot, followed by Shenzhen, Ningbo, Qingdao and Dalian.

In a written statement sent to, Song Hongguang, Competitiveness Think Tank's chairman, said that the report could become a third-party reference to the Chinese government's allocation of the elderly care resources because all data used in the research were from the statistical yearbooks issued by the local governments.

Additionally, the report made a list of cities which are facing acute pressure of population aging, with Chongqing, Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu and Tianjin being at the forefront.

The report comes at a time when aging population is becoming a growing concern, with the country projected to have 480 million elderly people above 60 by 2050, when the number of such people will account for 28 percent of the country's total population.

According to statistics from China's Ministry of Civil Affairs, as of the end of 2015, the number of citizens aged 60 and above stood at 222 million, accounting for 16.1 percent of the country's total population.

At present, the demand for elderly care cannot be fully satisfied due to the lack of unified service and charging standards set for the nursing institutions and the decades-long one-child policy, which exerts more economic pressure on the single-child families, said the report.

With China entering the final stage in its efforts to build a moderately well-off society by 2020 when the GDP and per capita incomes of people in the urban and rural areas will double the 2010 level, improvement in the country's elderly care system has become central to the Chinese government's agenda for health and development.

In October, the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council, China's cabinet, jointly rolled out the "Healthy China 2030" blueprint, which sets public health targets for 2030, when the average life expectancy will rise to 79 from today's 76, the premature mortality due to major chronic diseases will be reduced by 30 percent and the investment in the healthcare industry will reach 16 trillion yuan.

In the same month, 11 Chinese government agencies issued a circular, calling for integrating the country's spare resources to better serve the development of the elderly care system. The Chinese government also encourages private capital to be invested in the elderly care industry, according to the country's 13th five-year plan.

Last month, Jiazi Credit and Competitiveness Think Tank also released the Report on Economic Index of China's Moderately Prosperous Cities, which assessed 647 Chinese cities in terms of their efforts to achieve the 2020 economic goal.

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