Skip to main content


Log in

The health status of China’s elderly and their demand for healthcare services

  • Survey Report
  • Published:
China Population and Development Studies Aims and scope Submit manuscript


This paper, based on data from the 2018 wave of the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey (CLHLS), reports on the health status of China’s elderly, and their needs for care and use of medical services. The proportion of the elderly in 2018 who reported being satisfied with their current lives was 67.1%, a proportion significantly higher than that reported by CLHLS 2002. Some 73.1% of the elderly self-rated their health as good or fair. There were ten types of chronic diseases with prevalence rates higher than 5%, among which hypertension was the most common, with 46.2% of survey respondents self-reporting suffering from it. The daily lives of some people suffering from chronic diseases were seriously affected. Most elderly people (93.2%) were able to complete without assistance all of the ADL items surveyed by CLHLS 2018, while 63.6% were able to do so with IADL items. Only 19.1% of the elderly reported that they were unable to perform at least one IADL item. Family members were still the main source of primary care. The satisfaction of the elderly with primary caregiver and helps they received was quite high. The data shows that the average weekly cost of care was RMB 651.1 yuan, with a median of RMB 180.0 yuan. The median hours children or grandchildren helped their elderly parents (grandparents) in the week prior to being interviewed was 0, and the mean value was 10.3 h. Because 86.5% of elderly survey respondents were covered by some type of medical insurance, more than half of the elderly had their medical expenses covered by insurance, and most elderly people had access to adequate medical services.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1

Source: CLHLS 2018 (N = 15,425)

Fig. 2

Source: CLHLS 2018 (N = 15,411)

Fig. 3
Fig. 4

Source: CLHLS 2018 (N = 15,407)

Fig. 5

Source: CLHLS 2018 (N = 14,660)

Fig. 6

Source: CLHLS 2018 (N = 15,390)

Fig. 7

Source: CLHLS 2018 (N = 14,763)

Fig. 8

Source: CLHLS 2018

Fig. 9

Source: CLHLS 2018 (N = 15,332)

Fig. 10

Source: CLHLS 2018

Fig. 11
Fig. 12
Fig. 13
Fig. 14

Similar content being viewed by others


  • Liu, Y., Yuan, Y., et al. (2007). A research study of the oldest-old Chinese. Beijing: China Population Publishing House. (in Chinese).

    Google Scholar 

  • Zeng, Y., Gu, D., Xiao, Z., & Tao, L. (2005). Graph collections of healthy longevity in China. Beijing: China Population Publishing House. (in Chinese).

    Google Scholar 

  • Zeng, Y., Lu, J., Lei, X., et al. (2018). Healthy aging in China: Trend and determinants. Beijing: Science Press. (in Chinese).

    Google Scholar 

Download references


The data analyzed in this paper are from the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Study (CLHLS) which was jointly supported by the National Natural Sciences Foundation of China (71490732), the National Key R&D Program of China (2018YFC2000400), and the U.S. National Institute of Aging of the National Institute of Health (P01AG031719).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ting Feng.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Feng, T. The health status of China’s elderly and their demand for healthcare services. China popul. dev. stud. 3, 327–342 (2020).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: