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The results of a national census conducted late last year show the proportion of elderly people in the country of 1.34 billion jumped, while that of young people plunged sharply.

The census results, announced Thursday, also show that half the population lives in cities.

The census gives a by-the-numbers snapshot of the world-changing demographic shifts under way in China in the past decade, as economic reforms raise living standards and pull more people off farms into the cities, families shrink, and the population ages.

China’s rapid aging has fueled worries over how long the country will be able to sustain its high economic growth, as fewer young people are available to work in factories and build the roads that transformed it into the world’s second-biggest economy after the United States.

The census results show that people aged 60 and older make up 13.3 percent of the population, up nearly 3 percentage points from 2000. People age 14 and younger account for 16.6 percent, down 6.3 percentage points from a decade ago.


Road-building plans threaten tigers

JAKARTA | Indonesia is preparing to greenlight the construction of several highways through a park that has one of the world’s few viable populations of wild tigers, conservationists warned Thursday.

The move would be especially alarming, they said, because it would come just months after the government signed a deal in Russia promising to do everything possible to save the iconic big cats from extinction.

About 3,500 tigers are left in the wild worldwide. The Kerinci Seblat National Park, which spans four provinces on Sumatra island, is home to an estimated 190 of them - more than in China, Vietnam, Nepal, Laos and Cambodia combined.

The plans for four roads through the park would open up previously inaccessible land to villagers and illegal loggers, divide breeding grounds and movement corridors and destroy vulnerable ecosystems.

From wire dispatches and staff reports