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Shanghai's working-age population shrinks
Updated: 2008-05-05 11:11

China's most populous municipality, the eastern financial capital of Shanghai, saw the first decline in recent history in its working-age population last year, said the city's civil affairs authority on Saturday.

Working age is defined as those aged between 15 and 59 years old, and the number of such people fell from 9.8 million in 2006 to 9.76 million at the end of 2007.

This was the first reported decline of the working-age population in China's provincial-level administrative regions since 1978, when Chinese provinces started to compile statistically precise population figures, said the Shanghai Bureau of Civil Affairs.

Gui Shixun, deputy director of the Shanghai Research Center on Aging, said that the drop reflected the combined effects of China's birth control policy and its aging population.

"Between 2010 and 2020, Shanghai's working-age population will continue to shrink by 1.5 million," said Gui, who has urged government departments to relax residential registration restrictions and raise the retirement age to maintain the workforce.

"Most women workers retire at the age of 50 in Shanghai. The government should consider extending the retirement age so as to ease the retirement welfare burden," said Gui.

Shanghai has become an aging society, with 20.8 percent of its 13.78 million permanent residents aged above 60 in 2007.

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