The United States is certainly not alone regarding its aging population; in fact, it doesn’t even have the fastest- growing group of elderly people. In 2019, the world had 703 million people aged 65 years or over. By 2050, that number is projected to double to 1.5 billion. One in six people in the world will be 65 or over.
This percentage is expected to increase and will have a huge impact on the dependency ratio: the number of citizens not in the labor force (young, disabled, or elderly) to citizens in the labor force (Bartram and Roe 2005). One country that will soon face a serious aging crisis is China, which is on the cusp of an “aging boom”— a period when its elderly population will dramatically increase. The number of people above age sixty in China today is about 178 million, which amounts to 13.3 percent of its total population (Xuequan 2011). By 2050, nearly a third of the Chinese population will be age sixty or older, which will put a significant burden on the labor force and impact China’s economic growth (Bannister, Bloom, and Rosenberg 2010). On a more global scale, the dependency ratio is projected to more than double in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Northern Africa and Western Asia, and Central and Southern Asia.
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As healthcare improves and life expectancy increases across the world, elder care will be an emerging issue. Wienclaw (2009) suggests that with fewer working-age citizens available to provide home care and long-term assisted care to the elderly, the costs of elder care will increase.