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Vietnamese population ages, social issues on the horizon

Thursday, July 20, 2017, 16:04 GMT+7

The Vietnamese population is getting older, a problem expected to continue well into the coming years.

Population aging was first recorded as an issue in the Southeast Asian country in 2011 when 10.1 million, roughly 11 percent of the population, were considered elderly.

The number of senior citizens in the nation is predicted to account for 17 percent by 2030 and continue mushrooming to 25 percent by the year 2050.

Speaking with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, Nguyen Van Tan, deputy head of the General Department of Population and Family Planning under the Ministry of Health, said that 70 percent of the country’s senior citizens are not assisted by pension policies.

With no financial savings or help from their children, these people are forced to continue working in order to earn a living, Tan said.

However, with current healthcare conditions, senior citizens are at least able to receive better treatment for their illnesses, facilitating the growth of this age group.

Other plans to support elderly Vietnamese, namely building nursing homes and establishing separate healthcare systems, have been initiated but are yet to be completed, Tan elaborated.

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A charts depicting the percentage of elderly people in Vietnam from 2011, 2030, and 2050. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Several measures have been taken to cope with the growing number of senior citizens during 2011-20, including initiatives aimed at boosting birth rates, raising the retirement age, and adjusting social insurance policies.

Following several years of limiting the number of children in families to one or two, authorities in Vietnam are now encouraging married couples to have at least two children.

This birth rate will help retain the number of elderly at around 17 percent over the next 20 years, while the figure might reach 20 percent if birth rates remain low, the official assessed.

Implementing open policies for immigration is also a possible method to deal with population aging.

The issue will pose a significant challenge to the country’s long-term development goals, he said, adding that the General Department of Population and Family Planning has prepared several proposals to deal with the situation for the upcoming meeting of the Party Central Committee.

Aside from measures to slow down the aging of population, several propositions will also be presented, aimed at improving the population’s quality of life and lowering gender imbalance, according to the official.

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