SupChina Vibe A weekly snapshot of modern China.
Friday, May 21, 2021

We need to talk about this
China’s nursing shortage is easing, but not fast enough to address needs of aging population

According to the latest data from China's National Health Commission, there were about 4.7 million registered nurses in China by the end of last year, marking an increase of 45% in comparison with 2015.

The numbers suggest that China is making major strides toward addressing its nurse shortage, an issue that has remained unresolved to differing degrees for decades. But, despite the fact that in the past five years, the number of nurses in China has grown consistently by about 200,000 every year, demand is still outpacing supply at a worrying rate.

The primary driving force in this widening discrepancy is the aging of China’s population: Today, there are 264.02 million people aged 60 and older in China, including 190.64 million people over the age of 65, or 13.5% of the entire population. Many of them have at least one chronic condition.

But increasing demand is only part of the problem. To make things more complicated, more and more Chinese nurses are leaving the profession because they are not getting paid or appreciated enough to put up with the physical and mental stresses that the job entails.

In other words, China’s nursing shortage is a multifaceted problem, and it takes a multifaceted response. But the bottom line, I believe, is that it would be cruel to see a generation of Chinese seniors, who deserve their retirement and all their entitlements, being left uncared for. Something needs to be done for them.

—Jiayun Feng, Society & Culture Editor Jianun Feng
What else is happening
Here are four articles from SupChina you may have missed.
Illustration by Alex Santafé
Before we go…
Other things we read and loved this week.
And finally: Hugs to this
My weekly pick of one small thing making the internet slightly less cursed.

If you’re looking for new Chinese shows to binge on and feel like you’ve exhausted all your options, What’s on Weibo has a list of the most popular TV dramas in China that are trending this year.

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