Aging and Social Change’s Updates

Aging Workers, Slowing Productivity: China’s Changing Demographics

The Wall Street Journal | Article Link | by Laurie Burkitt

Image courtesy of Morguefile

China is aging and urbanizing. Its productivity rate is slowing and it still favors males. That’s all according to new data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics, which gives a glimpse at China’s 1.37 billion in numbers.

The country’s working age population, ages 16 to 59, is shrinking, comprising 66.3% of the population in 2015. The number has slid from 67% a year earlier, 67.6% in 2013 and 69.2% in 2012. Demographers warned China’s leaders more than a decade ago about an oncoming labor pool shortage and this year they plan to address it by extending the country’s retirement age.

According to the data, overall productivity has increased, but the growth rates are slowing, sliding to 6.6% in 2015 from 7.32% in 2012.

More than half of the country’s 1.37 billion have fled the farm to work in cities over the past decade, as part of the government’s plan to urbanize the country and boost economic growth. Leaders say they want 60% of the country living in cities by 2020.