Demographic ageing in China

Economic problem or social opportunity?

Authored by: Phil Mullan , Bill Durodié

East and South-East Asia

Print publication date:  March  2013
Online publication date:  July  2013

Print ISBN: 9781857436396
eBook ISBN: 9780203146026
Adobe ISBN:


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‘China is destined to get old before it gets rich’ (Qiao 2006): this statement encapsulates wide-spread concerns about the consequences of population ageing in the People’s Republic of China. Certainly China is ageing particularly rapidly, with an expectation of well over a quarter of the population being above the age of 65 by the middle of the century. If this is considered ‘old’ and if ‘rich’ means on a par with the top high-income countries, this is a probable scenario, but are the negative connotations justified? Is it inevitable that demographic changes will derail China’s economic growth dynamic as is frequently presumed (Jackson and Howe 2004; Li et al. 2009; Wang 2011; Cai 2011)?

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