Budget 2023: The Aging City and the Government's Spending on the Elderly
The epitome of "aging" Hong Kong
Listen to the Story of an elderly, Lan
A Scavenger living in Hong Kong
Caring and Inclusiveness in Budget 2023
In February 2023, the Hong Kong government released the budget as scheduled. It is worth mentioning that, unlike previous years, the new theme of "caring and inclusiveness" is added to the budget, which marks the Hong Kong government's efforts in the context of aging population.
However, with the decline in the fertility rate in recent years, Hong Kong's current population structure is not optimistic, and it has begun to enter a "super-aging society".
How Rapidly is the City Aging?
The growing elderly population
According to the "Hong Kong Population Projection 2020-2069" published by the Census and Statistics Department, it is estimated that the elderly population aged 65 and above will increase from 20.8% in 2022 to 31% in 2039.
By 2050, Hong Kong will top the rank
According to the United Nations, by 2050, Hong Kong will become the region with the highest aging population in the world, with over 40% of the population aged 65 or above.
Such a severe social situation makes people wonder, can these financial funds be used to deal with the extremely serious aging phenomenon in Hong Kong?
The rapid aging labour force
As early as 10 years ago, the elderly over 65 accounted for only 16.7% of the labor force, but the latest data shows that in 2022, the elderly of this age group accounted for 27.2% of the total labor force, an increase of 10.5%.
It can be seen that the aging trend of Hong Kong's labor force population structure is very serious.
In addition, the shortage of the labor force will potentially reduce productivity, increase the dependency ratio, and increase social security expenditures. This vicious circle will cause the elderly to face heavier pressure on retirement security.
In addition to the problem of an aging workforce, there are insufficient beds in nursing homes in Hong Kong, and the long waiting time prevents many elderly people from getting a good living security in their later years.
“Especially in the two consecutive years of 2019 and 2020, more than 7,000 elderly people died during the waiting period; and the figure in 2020 accounted for 12% of the total number of people on the waiting list in that year, the proportion hit a new high in the past five years.
The severe situation has led many elderly people to return to the mainland for retirement. The Social Welfare Department has also put the "Guangdong Residential Care Service Plan" on the agenda.
How much the govement spends on the elderly?
In the 2023 budget speech, the funds for projects in which the elderly are direct beneficiaries totaled 123.419 billion, accounting for 16.2% of the total expenditure in the budget, and most of the funds were invested in medical vouchers and elderly care home projects. In this regard, the new budget for 2023 plans to
increase the tax deduction for employers’ voluntary mandatory provident funds contributions for employees aged 65 or above from 100% to 200%, in an effort to encourage the employment of older employees. At the same time, the government encourage the market to provide more private nursing homes.
But in fact, can these measures really effectively alleviate the aging process in Hong Kong?
Since 2012, the government’s investment in the elderly has increased year by year, but by comparing with the growth rate of the elderly population, it can be found that the rate of growth in the elderly population has outpaced the growth in government spending on the elderly.
Therefore, although the government increases its efforts to improve the aging trend, But in fact, the phenomenon of aging is far more serious than we imagined, and need to pay more attention to it.