China has its own ‘Florida’, a place where retired miners, teachers and industrial workers can go and enjoy the sunshine. The place to go for pensioners is the city of Sanya on subtropical Hainan island.
Until now, Chinese people used to live, work, retire and die in the same place. By tradition, children take care of their parents when they get older. But since 260 million workers have migrated over the years, one-fifth of the population now lives somewhere other than their birthplace. As a result of this, the pattern of retirement has also begun to change. Many pensioners spend their old age far away from where they were born.
Many Chinese pensioners decide to move from China’s north-eastern provinces to Hainan. According to Sanya’s government, 400,000-500,000 pensioners head to the city each year, perhaps half of them from the north-east. Most come for six months and return to the north-east in summer. “Rather like Florida’s ‘snowbirds’, many rent an apartment just for the winter”, The Economist reports.
More migrant pensioners live on the island year round; the number staying permanently started to soar in 2010 when the city’s retirement boom began. The city’s first American-style residential care home, with medical services, an indoor golf driving-range and calligraphy classes will be opened soon.
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