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China Focus: DINKs in aging China

BEIJING, July 28 (Xinhua) -- The increasing number of people choosing the Dual Income, No Kids (DINK) lifestyle may hasten the growth of China's aged population society while advancing elder care.

According to a report released by China's National Health and Family Planning Commission this year, people over 60 years old accounted for 15.5 percent of Chinese population as of the end of 2014. They expect the number to rise to nearly one-third by 2050.

But for families like Guo Zhiyue's, from Jilin province, the aging problem seems to be acutely in the now.

As the only child, Guo, 27, who now works in Beijing as an accountant, has to take care of his parents in their early 60s as well as his four grandparents over 80 years old.

"I do love my grandparents but their poor health has always been a headache for me and my parents can't help much because they are growing old day by day too. Sometimes I wish my parents could give birth to at least one more child to help me out," said Guo.

The pressures he's facing have led Guo choose a DINK lifestyle.

"I have already taken on a lot of pressure to achieve my career goals," he said. "It costs more time, money and effort to raise a child in today's society. I don't think I can manage to do both at the same time," said Guo.

Guo's girlfriend Dong Qing shares his idea of being a DINK and they have decided to get married in this September.

Dong, 28, graduated from a university in the UK three years ago and now works as administrative staff at a high school in Beijing.

"Though I am not that busy at work, I would rather spend time and money on traveling, reading, cooking and many other things than worrying which kindergarten should I sent my son to," said Dong.

In an interview with Xinhua, Li Jianmin, professor with Nankai Univeristy's Population and Development Research Institute, noted that younger generations in China have been exposed to cultures, values and lifestyles of developed countries, thus they are focusing more on individual development, instead of raising children for the family line.

"DINKs are often found in economically booming cities. Most are well-educated, and boast high income," said Lu Jiehua, sociology professor with Peking University.

"It is obvious that a lack of interest in having children among couples would cause population shrinking and higher aged population."

However in China, a country where most people still insist on the tradition of raising children to take care of them in their twilight years, the increasing number of DINKs will have positive impact in pushing both government and business to accelerate the transition of traditional family-supported elder care system to a community-based elder care, added Lu.

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