Terry Hokenstad to Lead Public Affairs Discussion on China’s Aging Population

M.C. “Terry” Hokenstad, PhD, will lead a Public Affairs Discussion Group on “China’s Aging Population: Policy Decisions and Program Challenges” on Friday, October 9, at 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. at Mather House Room 100.

The event is presented by the Center for Policy Studies at Case Western Reserve. Its director, Dr. Joseph White, the Luxenberg Family Professor of Public Policy, writes of this discussion: It has become a cliché to refer to the “timebomb” of “China’s aging population.” That may be an exaggeration, like the “demographic tsunami” that supposedly threatens the United States. But in China’s case it is not part of a campaign to cut protections for the elderly. Instead, it reflects fears that China’s society and policies will not be adequate to prevent human misery. China is unusual in that the proportion of elderly in the population is rising rapidly at lower levels of wealth than in countries like Germany, Japan, or the United States, so before full implementation of social protections. Challenges are exacerbated by migration of younger workers from rural to urban areas, leaving aging parents behind. Chinese traditions of filial obligation to care for the aged thus are also threatened. Chinese policy-makers are well aware of the problem, but finding and implementing effective policies will be difficult.

A worldwide leader in social work education and research, Professor Hokenstad has focused especially on aging issues worldwide. He is a Distinguished University Professor and the Ralph S. and Dorothy P. Schmitt Professor at the Mandel School.