Among the many challenges facing the Chinese economy, population aging is no doubt one of the most important. The old-age dependency ratio in China increased from 10 percent in 2000 to 13 percent in 2015, and is expected to increase to 44 percent by 2050. Both increasing life expectancy and declining fertility contributed to China's rapid population aging. Family planning policies, including but not restricted to the one-child policy, have led to a rapid decline in total fertility, from 5.7 in 1969 to 2.7 in 1978, when the one-child policy started, to about 1.6 currently. According to World Bank data, the average life expectancy at birth in China has steadily increased from 57.6 years in 1969 to 65.9 in 1978 to 76.4 in 2017.
"Population ageing has important implications for China's social insurance programs, retirement income security, and asset markets, including the housing market. In a series of papers, my coauthors and I have studied the impact of population aging in China from a variety of angles," says CEPAR Chief Investigator Professor Hanming Fang in this article for NBER Reporter.