Population Aging in China

  • Feinian Chen
  • Guangya Liu
Part of the International Handbooks of Population book series (IHOP, volume 1)

The proximate determinants of population aging in China are fundamentally the same as those in any other country. It is an inevitable consequence of the process known as the “demographic transition” in which declining fertility together with a rise in life expectancy leads to a shift towards an older age structure of the population. Yet, the story of population aging in China is unmistakably unique, shaped by its distinct historical, cultural, economic and political contexts. The pace of its aging trend is by itself unparalleled, with the proportion of older adults projected to grow from 6.8 per cent to 23.6 per cent over the first half of the twenty-first century (United Nations 2005). As the most populous country in the world, this increase in the population of elderly translates to an astounding growth of 242 million people, which would qualify it for the fourth largest population in the world today.


Living Arrangement Pension System Fertility Decline Filial Piety Pension Reform 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Banister J (1992) A brief history of China’s population. In: Dudley LP Jr, Yaukey D (eds) The population of modern China. Plenum Press, New York NY, pp 51–57Google Scholar
  2. Bian F, Logan JR, Bian Y (1998) Intergenerational relations in urban China: Proximity, contact, and help to parents. Demography 35:115–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Caldwell JC (1986) Routes to low mortality in poor countries. Popul Dev Rev 12:171–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chen F (2005) Residential patterns of parents and their married children in contemporary China: A life course approach. Popul Res Policy Rev 24:125–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chen S (1996) Social policy of the economic state and community care in Chinese culture. Ashgate Publishing Company, Brookfield, USAGoogle Scholar
  6. China National Research Center on Aging (CNRCA) (2003) Data analysis of the sampling of survey of the aged population in China, China Standard Press, BeijingGoogle Scholar
  7. China National Statistical Bureau (2003) Tabulation on the 2000 population census of the People’s Republic of China. All China Marketing Research Inc., BeijingGoogle Scholar
  8. China National Statistical Bureau (2005) China statistical yearbook 2005.
  9. China Research Center on Aging (1992) Survey data on China’s support system for elderly. China Research Center on Aging, BeijingGoogle Scholar
  10. Cook IG, Dummer TJ (2004) Changing health in China: Re-evaluating the epidemiological transition model. Health Policy 67:329–343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Deborah D, Harrell S (1993) Introduction: The impact of post-Mao reforms on family life. In: Deborah D, Harrell S (eds) Chinese families in the post mao era. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA, pp 1–24Google Scholar
  12. Deborah D-F (1991) Long lives: Chinese elderly and the communist revolution. Stanford University Press, Stanford, CAGoogle Scholar
  13. Dong W (2001) Health care reform in urban China. Comparative program on health and society, Munk Centre for International Studies at the University of Toronto. Working Paper 2001/2Google Scholar
  14. Feeney G, Feng W (1993) Parity progression and birth intervals in China: The influence of policy in hastening fertility decline. Popul Dev Rev 19:61–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fei X (1992) From the soil: The foundation of Chinese society, 3rd. University of California Press, Berkeley, CAGoogle Scholar
  16. Feng X, Tang S, Bloom G, Segall M, Gu X (1995) Cooperative medial schemes in contemporary rural China. Soc Sci Med 41:1111–1118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gao Q (2006) The social benefit system in urban China: Reforms and trends from 1988 to 2002. J East Asian Stud 6:31–67Google Scholar
  18. Grogan C (1995) Urban economic reform and access to health care coverage in the People’s Republic of China. Soc Sci Med 41:1073–1084CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gu D, Dupre ME, Liu G (2007) Characteristics of the institutionalized and community-residing oldest-old in China. Soc Sci Med 64:871–883CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gu D, Zeng Y (2004) Sociodemographic effects on the onset and recovery of ADL disability among Chinese oldest-old. Demo Res 11:1–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hsiao WC (1995) The Chinese health care system: Lessons from other nations. Soc Sci Med 41:1047–1055CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Huang J (2003) Economic restructuring, social safety net, and old-age pension reform. Am Asian Rev 21:171–198Google Scholar
  23. Ikegami N, Yamauchi K, Yamada Y (2003) The long term care insurance law in Japan: Impact on institutional care facilities. Inter J Geriatr Psychiatry 18:217–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ikels C (1997) Long-term care and disabled elderly in urban China. In: Sokolovsky J (ed) The cultural context of aging: Worldwide perspectives, 2nd edn. Bergin and Garvey, West-port, CT, pp 452–471Google Scholar
  25. Joseph AE, Phillips DR (1999) Ageing in rural China: Impacts of increasing diversity in family and community resources. J Cross-Cul Gerontol 14:153–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kaneda T (2006) China’s concern over population aging and health. accessed on January 29, 2007
  27. Kim E-Y, Kim C-Y (2004) Who wants to enter a long-term care facility in a rapidly aging non-western society? Attitudes of older Koreans toward long-term care facilities. J Am Geriatr Soc 52:2114–2119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lai P (2003) China’s economic growth: New trends and implications. China World Econ 11:9–15Google Scholar
  29. Lawton MP, Moss M, Kleban MH (1984) Marital status, living arrangements and the well-being of older people. Res Aging 6:323–345CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lee LM (2004) The current state of public health in China. Annu Rev Public Health 25:327–339CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Leeder S, Raymond S, Greenberg H, Liu H, Esson (2005) A race against time: The challenge of cardiovascular disease in developing economies. Columbia University, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  32. Leung JCB (1997) Family support for the elderly in China: Issues and challenges. J Aging Soc Policy 9:87–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Li J (1995) China’s family planning program: how, and how well it? A study of Hebei province, 1979–1988. Popul Dev Rev 21:563–585CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Liang Z, Ma Z (2004) China’s floating population: New evidence from the 2000 Census. Popul Dev Rev 30:467–488CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Liu Y, Hsiao WCL, Li Q, Liu X, Ren M (1995) Soc Sci Med 41:1085–1093Google Scholar
  36. Logan JR, Bian F (1999) Family values and co-residence with married children in urban China. Soc Forces 77:1–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Logan JR, Bian F, Bian Y (1998) Tradition and change in the urban Chinese family: The case of living arrangements. Soc Forces 76:851–882CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Merli MG, Smith HL (2002) Has the Chinese birth planning program been successful in changing fertility preferences? Evidence from linked records in three data sources in four counties of Northern China. Demography 39:557–572Google Scholar
  39. Ministry of Civil Affairs (2005) China civil affairs’ statistical yearbook. China Statistics Press, BeijingGoogle Scholar
  40. Palmer M (1995) The re-emergence of family law in post-Mao China: marriage, divorce and reproduction. China Quarterly 141:110–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Parish WL ,Whyte MK (1978) Village and family in contemporary China. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. ILGoogle Scholar
  42. Population Reference Bureau (2006) World population data sheet. accessed on January 29, 2007
  43. Poston D (2000) Social and economic development and the fertility transitions in mainland China and Taiwan. Dev Rev 26(suppl):40–60Google Scholar
  44. Poston D (1992) Fertility trends in China. In: Dudley LP Jr, Yaukey D (eds) The population of modern China, Plenum Press, New York, NY, pp 277–286Google Scholar
  45. Qiao X (2001) Aging issues and policy choices in rural China. Paper presented at the 26th IUSSP General Population Conference, Salvador, BrazilGoogle Scholar
  46. Rosner HJ (2004) China’s health insurance system in transformation: Preliminary assessment, and policy suggestions. Int Soc Secur Rev 57:65–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sarwari AR, Fredman L, Langenberg P, Magaziner J (1998) Prospective study on the relation between living arrangement and change in functional health status of elderly women. Am J Epidemiol 147:370–378Google Scholar
  48. Short SE, Zhai F (1998) Looking locally at China’s one-child policy. Stud Fam Plann 29:373–387CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Tien HY (1984) Induced fertility transition: impact of population planning and socio-economic change in the People’s Republic of China. Popul Stud 38:385–400CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Trinh T (2006) China’s pension system: Caught between mounting legacies and unfavourable demographics. Deutsche Bank Research, GermanyGoogle Scholar
  51. United Nations (Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat) (2005) World population prospects: The 2004 revision population database.
  52. Wang D (2004a) Ritualistic coresidence and the weakening of filial practice in rural China. In filial piety: Practice and discourse in contemporary east Asia. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, pp 16–33Google Scholar
  53. Wang D (2006) China’s urban and rural old age security system: Challenges and options. China and World Economy 14:102–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Wang F-L (2004 b) Reformed migration control and new targeted people: China’s Hukou system in the 2000s. China Quarterly 177:115–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Wang F, Mason A (2004) The demographic factor in China’s transition. Paper presented at the Conference on China’s Economic Transition: Origins, Mechanisms, and Consequences. Pittsburgh, PAGoogle Scholar
  56. Wang F, Mason A (2007) Population aging in China: Challenges, opportunities, and institutions. In: Zhao Z, Guo F (eds) Transition and challenge: China’s population at the beginning of the 21st century. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 177–196Google Scholar
  57. Wang H, Gu D, Dupre ME, Gao H (2006) Factors associated with enrollment, satisfaction, and sustainability of the new cooperative medical scheme in rural china. Working PaperGoogle Scholar
  58. Wang L, Kong L, Wu F, Bai Y, Burton R (2005) Chronic diseases 4: Preventing chronic diseases in China. Lancet 366:1821–1824CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Whyte MK (ed) (2003) China’s revolutions and intergenerational relations. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Center for Chinese Studies, University of MichiganGoogle Scholar
  60. Winckler EA (2002) Chinese reproductive policy at the turn of the millennium: Dynamic stability. Popul Dev Rev 28:379–418CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Woo J, Wok TK, Sze FKH, Yuan HJ (2002) Ageing in China: Health and social consequences and responses. Inter J Epidemiol 31:772–775CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. World Bank (1997) Old age security: Pension reform in China. The World Bank Press. Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  63. Wu Z, Schimmele CM (2005) Psychological disposition and self-reported health among the oldest old in China. Ageing Soc 25:1–17Google Scholar
  64. Xinhua News Agency (2006) China to set up old-age security system in rural areas, accessed on January 29, 2007
  65. Yang H, Chandler D (1992) Intergenerational relations: Grievances of the elderly in rural China. Comp Fam Stud 23:432–453Google Scholar
  66. Zeng Y, Wang Z (2003) Dynamics of family and elderly living arrangements in China: New lessons learned from the 2000 Census. China Rev 3:95–119Google Scholar
  67. Zeng Y, Vaupel JW, Xiao Z, Zhang C, Liu Y (2002) Sociodemo-graphic and health profiles of the oldest old in China. Popul Dev Rev 28:251–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Zeng Y, Wang Z, Leiwen J, Gu D (Forthcoming) Projection of family households and elderly living arrangement in the context of rapid population aging in China-A demographic window of opportunity until 2030 and serious challenges thereafter. GENUS Google Scholar
  69. Zhang H (2004) Living alone’ and the rural elderly strategy and agency in Post-Mao rural China. In Filial piety: Practice and discourse in contemporary East Asia. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, pp 63–87Google Scholar
  70. Zimmer Z (2005) Health and living arrangement transitions among China’s oldest old. Res on Aging 27:526–555CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Zhu Y (2002) Recent developments in China’s social security reforms. International Social Security Review 55:39–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Zunzunegui MV, Beland F, Otero A (2001) Support from children, living arrangements, self-rated health and depressive symptoms of older people in Spain. Inter J Epidemiol 30:1090–1099CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Feinian Chen
    • 1
  • Guangya Liu
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  2. 2.North Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

Personalised recommendations