China Chartbook: Ageing and rejuvenation


To prevent getting old before getting rich, Chinese government spared no effort in tackling various social problem. Over the long-run, automation is needed to enhance productivity.
Chris Leung, Nathan Chow, Samuel Tse02 Sep 2021
  • China’s demographic dynamic has tilted sharply toward stagnation in recent decades
  • One-child policy, as well as unaffordable education, childcare, and home prices were major causes
  • China’s elderly dependency ratio reached 17.8% in 2019 but per capita GDP was relatively low
  • Recent implementation of a three-child policy and regulatory crackdown are justifiable steps
  • Automation and robot adoption will gather pace to enhance productivity
Photo credit: AFP Photo


• China’s demographic dynamic has tilted sharply toward stagnation in recent decades. Total fertility rate fell from 5.7% in 1970 to a meagre 1.3% in 2020 -- below the replacement level. One-child policy, as well as unaffordable education, childcare, and home prices were major causes.

• Low fertility alongside a shrinking working-age population weighs heavily on productivity growth, socioeconomic development, and fiscal sustainability.

• China’s elderly dependency ratio reached 17.8% in 2019 but per capita GDP was relatively low (USD10,182) as evidenced by international experience.

• Recent implementation of a three-child policy and regulatory crackdown are justifiable steps to rectify the order of income distribution and incentivize childbirth.

• Lifting statutory retirement age and improving population health are viable solutions. Automation and robot adoption will gather pace to enhance productivity.




To read the full report, click here to Download the PDF.

Chris Leung

Economist - China & Hong Kong
chrisleung@dbs.com

Nathan Chow 周洪禮

Senior Economist/Strategist 策略師 - 中國及香港
nathanchow@dbs.com

Samuel Tse 謝家曦

Economist - China & Hong Kong 經濟學家 - 中國及香港
samueltse@dbs.com


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