HCMC's rapidly aging population presents social challenges

By Le Phuong   July 11, 2024 | 05:00 am PT
HCMC's rapidly aging population presents social challenges
An old man stands by a canal in HCMC. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
Low birth and death rates, along with higher life expectancies, are swiftly pushing Ho Chi Minh City's population into the aging phase, with the percentage of people aged above 60 reaching 12.5%.

Pham Chanh Trung, head of the Ho Chi Minh City Population and Family Planning Department, stated on Thursday that last year the percentage of elderly people in the city was 11.03%, up from less than 10% in previous years.

The average life expectancy of citizens in the city is around 76.5 years, higher than the national average of 73.7.

However, birth rates in the southern metropolis are steadily declining. The average number of children a woman in Ho Chi Minh City has is 1.32, down from 1.42 last year.

Both figures are significantly lower than Vietnam's replacement birth rate of at least two children per woman. Over the last 20 years, Ho Chi Minh City’s birth rates have consistently been among the lowest in all Vietnamese localities.

"An aging population creates challenges for the social, economic, and cultural aspects of individuals, families, society, and the community," Trung said, noting that an aging population would lead to a restructuring of family dynamics.

People are living longer, having fewer children, and facing more limited caregiving options. Vietnam's elderly care services have not been well-developed, leading many elderly people to depend on their descendants.

As more people spend longer periods in retirement, this will place additional strain on the medical and pension systems.

An aging population also means greater economic pressure on young workers, potentially impeding the city’s development if not addressed.

Nguyen Van Vinh Chau, vice director of the HCMC Department of Health, emphasized that addressing an aging population requires addressing low birth rates and improving healthcare services for the elderly.

To enhance population quality, the health sector aims to educate people about the benefits of pre-marital health check-ups, which can help couples screen for potential reproductive health issues and fertility-related diseases, Chau said.

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