Number of ’empty nest families’ increasing in Shanghai

SHANGHAI – As the parents of the first children raised under the one-child policy enter retirement age, nearly 40 percent of this eastern municipality’s residents aged between 60 and 69 live in “empty nest families”, according to a recent study.

“There are quite a few old people living alone, in an empty nest. Their children have either gone abroad or are busy at work and have little time to visit their parents and take care of them,” said a woman surnamed Zhao who is a local community worker.

“The government should do more to support these people since the number of elderly people is increasing every year,” she added.

The study, conducted by the Shanghai statistics authority, polled 1,500 residents who are 50 or older and who live in 14 districts in the city.

According to the study, more than 97 percent of seniors who are 60 or older said their pensions are their main sources of income. Among them, 14.3 percent said they have to use their savings to supplement their pensions. Only 14.7 percent received the support from their adult children. About 85 percent of the respondents have a monthly income of 1,000 yuan ($156) to 3,000 yuan.

The study also found that the percentage of senior residents who are older than 70 and are living alone is significantly lower than those who are 60 to 69.

“Old people at this age usually have several children who can share the burden of caring and assisting for their parents,” an unidentified city official said.

Health issues were the top concern among the seniors who were polled. Of them, 46.7 percent suggested that securing a family doctor is at the top of their wish lists.

Shanghai has more than 3 million people who are 60 years old or older. It’s estimated that the group will account for a third of the city’s population by 2020.

China Daily

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