The current and future well being of china s rural elderly
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The Current and Future Well-Being of China’s Rural Elderly. John Giles (World Bank - DECRG) Dewen Wang (World Bank - Beijing & CASS-IPLE) Fang Cai (CASS - IPLE). China’s Aging Rural Population.

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The Current and Future Well-Being of China’s Rural Elderly

John Giles (World Bank - DECRG)

Dewen Wang (World Bank - Beijing & CASS-IPLE)

Fang Cai (CASS - IPLE)


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China’s Aging Rural Population

  • China’s demographic transition and implications for its old age dependency ratio (OADR) are well-known

  • Migration to urban areas is primarily an activity of the young

  • As a result the OADR in rural areas is rising much faster than in rural areas.

    • We predict trend in the OADR based on different assumptions for the total fertility rate and urbanization (migration) rate.

    • Under reasonable assumptions of a low TFR and medium urbanization, the OADR in rural areas will rise from 13.5 percent in 2008 to 34.4 percent by 2030



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International Comparisons of Old-Age Dependency Ratio

  • Other countries had pension systems covering the rural population in place long before the population started to age:

    • Denmark (1891), UK (1946), Japan (1971), South Korea (1990)


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What are the Sources of Support for China’s Elderly?

  • Compared to urban residents, the rural elderly:

    • Have relatively low savings

    • Lack pension support

    • Rely on support from family members or own labor



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Are Elderly with Migrants Less Likely to Receive Financial Support from Children?Net Transfers Received by Rural Elderly by Migrant Status of Adult Children



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Is Migration of Children Associated with “Delayed Retirement”?

  • Women over 70 appear more likely to work.

  • Negative relationship between employment and determinants of wealth or permanent income (own education, and education of others)

  • Negative relationship between receipt of pension income and work


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Potential Policy Responses to Aging Rural Population Retirement”?

  • Pension or Dibao?

  • A Rural Pension?

    • Current Participation in Rural Pension Programs is Low


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Rural Population Participation Rates in Contributory Pension Schemes

Participation Rate (%) of Working Age

Rural Labor Force


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Potential Policy Responses to Aging Rural Population Schemes

  • Pension or Dibao?

  • A Rural Pension?

    • Current Participation in Rural Pension Programs is Low

    • New Pension Initiatives:

      • State Council Goal of Social Pension System by 2020

      • In Planning Stage, Rural Pilot in 10 Percent of Rural Counties Covering 10 Percent of Rural Population: Basic Account plus Individual Account

  • With Migration and Urbanization, Do Separate Pension Systems Make Sense in the Long-term?