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As local Baby Boomers head towards retirement in three years, Hong Kong’s workforce is expected to decline, according to projections by the Census and Statistics Department.
By 2046, the labour force will drop to 3.11 million, a decline of half a million.
But the projection is the fall will slow between 2031 to 2038, staying at around 3.4 million because children who are born in Hong Kong to Mainland parents will return to the city to work.
The department anticipates 30% of this group will opt to join the local labour force.
The department’s 50-year projection also predicts the city’s population will hit a peak of 8.2 million in 2043 before starting to decline.
People aged 65 or over will make up 30% of the population by 2034, compared to 15% last year.
The study highlighted the likely impact of the ageing population, which experts warned the city is poorly prepared for.
Experts predicted that one in 10 people aged 65 to 79 have dementia and one in three people aged 80 and above have dementia. Based on ratios, this suggests more than half a million Hong Kongers will suffer from dementia in the near future.
“The estimates aren’t a huge surprise. Some services we basically haven’t really developed – like dementia. Other care services, there’s still some ways to go in order to catch up to the needs,” Professor Law Chi Kwong, a social work scholar at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) told the South China Morning Post.
HKU’s population expert Professor Paul Yip Siu Fai said for elderly people today, the choice of service was either “institutional care or you’re fine”.
“With this change in population, we need to figure out how to shift care from institutions to community. It’s not just about fiscal support, but social support.”