News & AnalysisDemography

Can China Age Gracefully? A Massive Survey Aims to Find Out

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Science  23 Aug 2013:
Vol. 341, Issue 6148, pp. 831-832
DOI: 10.1126/science.341.6148.831

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The China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) is monitoring nearly 18,000 people—a representative sample of all Chinese over 45. The survey, which was designed by an international team and bankrolled by the U.S. National Institute on Aging, among others, is charting respondents' health, wealth, and social relationships as they age. Results from the first round are in, and the prognosis is bleak: CHARLS found high rates of depression and medical underdiagnosis and revealed that a quarter of China's elderly live in poverty.