Researchers have warned that the growth of China's elderly population will soon become a social crisis, with the numbers of old people expected to more than double by 2025. Demographic records show that there are 120 million elderly people in the country but that number is expected to soar to 250 million in the first quarter of next century. According to a new report from the China Ageing Science Research Centre, the numbers of elderly is increasing at an average rate of 0.3 per cent a year. The report suggests that by 2025, 64 per cent of the elderly population will be composed of people over the age of 70 while 20 per cent will be over 80. It said concerns were raised that the ageing population was adding to the already huge group of old people. Planning for the future was complicated by the fact that China was not yet an economically advanced country. Population researchers have warned that if nothing is done to cope with the elderly population growth, it could turn into a social problem as serious as the country's population explosion. China would be among poorer countries facing an ageing population as more ageing societies emerged globally, said China Ageing Science Research Centre chief Wu Cangping . Mr Wu said China had to answer for the material and spiritual needs of the elderly as well as a crisis in their social status. An ageing society might aggravate conflicts between different generations and thwart economic growth and development, researchers warned.