Beijing on Barack Article

China - Getting Old Before Getting Rich?

While China still has surplus rural labor (around 25 million workers), that number is expected to be quickly absorbed as manufacturers move inland where costs are cheaper. Meanwhile, strict population control for the last thirty years has resulted in birth rates of 1.5 births/woman (in 2011), which is less than the replacement rate of 2.1. The number of those under age 14 has fallen by a third in the last decade, while the number over 60 grew more than 20%. China is under tremendous pressure to develop an economy where fewer productive workers can support a huge increase in retirees. The U.S. has a similar aging population, though its replacement workforce is not as depleted as China’s (birthrate of 2.0 births/woman in 2011). Nevertheless, both countries are facing a smaller workforce to support large numbers of retirees.

© Copyright 2012, U.S./China Media Brief Program, UCLA Asian American Studies Center