China had more than 230.8 million people aged at least 60 at the end of 2016, 16.7% of the total population, the Ministry of Civil Affairs has announced.
In comparison, China had 222 million people aged 60 years or older at 31 December 2015, accounting for 16.1% of its total population.
Of the 230.8 million senior citizens at the end of last year, 150.03 million were 65 or above, or 10.8% of the total population, reported the Xinhua News Agency citing a report released by the ministry.
By international standards, a country or region is considered to be an "aging society" when the number of people aged 60 or above reaches 10% or more.
The country had 140,000 nursing homes holding a total of more than 7.3 million beds at the end of 2016, with a year-on-year increase of 20.7% and 8.6%. There are only 31.6 beds for every 1,000 senior citizens.
More than 55% of the elderly in China live in non-urban areas. This implies a lower ability to afford senior homes. Culturally, some older people also prefer staying with their family to moving into senior homes.