Asia’s poverty

Asia is undergoing one of the most profound demographic shifts in its recent history. The sheer speed and scale of this transition will deprive the region of one of the main drivers of its past economic success – the demographic dividend. A steep fall in birth rates is likely to further worsen the problem. In Japan alone, the number living in poverty has almost tripled since the country’s economic downturn brought huge cuts in welfare assistance. In South Korea—where nearly half of the population over 65 lives in poverty—the suicide rate among the elderly has more than doubled in the past decade. And the People’s Republic of China (PRC) will actually lead the world population of centenarians by 2050, with over 450,000. On the other hand many, for other Asian countries like India, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines and Viet Nam, tackling the problem of aging remains a distant priority, reflecting the demographic reality that their population is aging slowly... —