China's ageing population

China's ageing population

Chinese factory workers are graying quickly
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Index features one important number about China to give you insight into the rising power. 24.6%: The percentage of Chinese factory workers that are older than 50. China’s factory workers are aging quickly. In 2009, 12.2% of factory workers in China were aged 50 years or older. By 2019, that number had grown to 24.6%.  At the same time, the percentage of young people – aged between 21 to 30 – fell from 35.8% to 23.1%, according to data compiled by the 21st Century Business Herald, a Chinese newspaper. The numbers point to an economy that is shifting away from its manufacturing core and toward a service-based model.   Furthermore, the changing demographics
China’s pensions gap forces rural peasants to labor into old age
In most parts of rural China, the elderly must continue to rely on their own labor, their children or their savings to support themselves in their twilight years. Chen Yunfeng, the chief of Yancang village in central China, has grown dismayed by the disadvantages that aging rural peasants face. “We plant grains, but grains are cheap,” Chen said while puffing cigarettes under a no-smoking sign in his little office. “And we are getting old, but there’s little welfare.” According to Chen, who is in his late fifties, a peasant from the village can receive a monthly pension of just 112 yuan ($16) after the retirement age of 60 – a tiny sum that is well below the average daily wage in Chinese citi
What’s behind China’s looming demographic crisis?
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Explains unravels the ideas and context behind the headlines to help you understand news about China. With one in six people on Earth calling it home, China is the world’s most populous country, where a large city can have as many residents as any industrialized nation does. The sheer size of the population has helped develop the country into the world’s second-biggest economy.  But while decades of managed growth in China’s population had paid dividends, the country is on the verge of a potential demographic crisis as a result of government actions, including policy to limit most families to have no more than one child. China’s population is expected to
China Trends: Starbucks rejects coins, and an end to two-child policy?
Every Tuesday and Thursday, China Trends takes the pulse of the Chinese social media to keep you in the loop of what the world’s biggest internet population is talking about. Coins for coffee China’s digital payment revolution may have gone too far for some. Starbucks China was forced to apologize over the weekend after a viral video showed an employee refusing to accept coins as payment. The footage, which was shot at an unspecified location in China, sparked a backlash on social media from users who pointed out that it was illegal to reject coins or cash under Chinese law. In China, mobile payments have largely replaced cash as the norm for anything from dining at restaurants to paying tax
China is getting very old very fast
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Index features a single, illuminating number that helps you make sense of China. 2022: the year when China is expected to officially become an “aged society.”  By 2022, one out of seven people in China will likely be aged 65 years or older, according to a report from the Chinese research firm Evergrande Research Institute. In 2019, that number was one in ten. An “aged society” is defined by the United Nations as a country where more than 14.3% of a population is at or above the age of 65. An “aging society” is when that age group makes up 7.2% of the total population.  China’s aging population, coupled with a low birth rate, is one of the most pressing pr
Marriages in China hit 11-year low. Here’s why that means trouble
Marriages in China hit an 11-year low last year, posing an additional challenge to efforts to boost consumption, stabilize the economy and tackle the nation’s looming demographic problems. A total of 10.14 million couples were married in 2018, down 4.6% from the previous year, while the marriage rate dropped to 7.3 per 1,000 from 7.7 per 1,000 last year, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs. The trend continued in the first half of 2019, with the number of marriages dropping 7.7% from a year earlier to 4.98 million. The marriage rate has fallen steadily from the recent high of 9.9% in 2013 as the younger generation avoids marriage due to financial concerns amid the weakening economy. C
Young Chinese mock proposal to lower marriage age
Young Chinese aren’t buying a proposal by legislators to lower the legal minimum age for marriage in an effort to combat the country’s looming demographic crisis.  Last week, several members of the National People’s Congress, China’s rubber-stamp legislative body, proposed lowering the minimum marriage age to 18 for both sexes. Currently, the legal minimum age is 22 for men and 20 for women. Zhang Sujun, one of the body’s Standing Committee members, who proposed the change, said the proposal could encourage young couples to marry earlier and to have more babies. China’s birth rate fell in 2018 to its lowest level since 2000. Researchers have warned that the country’s population is aging rapi
The granny pilot encouraging women to fly
An 82-year-old Chinese pilot has taken to the skies again for first time in 30 years to encourage other women to take up flying. Retired military pilot Miao Xiaohong took the controls of a single-engine light aircraft and lifted off from a small airport in Beijing on Tuesday, Beijing Youth Daily reported. Miao performed a range of maneuvers during the 40-minute flight and was accompanied by a trainer. She said there were not many women pilots – either military or civilian – in China and she wanted more girls to consider the career. “I can still fly at 82. You young people are more likely to be able to fly and should do it better than me,” Miao was quoted as saying. She prepared for the fligh
Chinese women have fewer children – and they’re cool with that
For about 20 years, women in Hong Kong have reliably told survey-takers that their ideal number of children is one or two. The average “ideal” value has been around 1.6 children. The statistic’s stability would make you think that this ideal is normal. But it’s quite unusual. According to research I’ve conducted for the US-based Institute for Family Studies, it is exceedingly rare for women to report average fertility ideals below two children. Women in South Korea, Japan and Singapore say they consider between two and three children to be ideal. Surveys vary for Taiwan, but most suggest ideals of between 1.8 and 2.4 children. Data from the United States suggests that ethnically Chinese wome
More and more of China’s migrant workers are staying home
China’s army of migrant workers, a source of cheap labor that underpinned the country’s growth into the world’s second-biggest economy, is becoming older and less mobile, according to the Chinese government’s latest annual survey. A report published by the National Bureau of Statistics on Monday showed that China had about 288 million migrant workers at the end of 2018, a rise of 0.6% from a year earlier.  That number includes 116 million workers who took local non-farming jobs without actually leaving their hometown. By China’s official classification, these workers still count as migrant.  But among the 173 million who actually migrated, there were 810,000 fewer workers leaving their home