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Second Baby Boomer Generation Enters Sixties in an Aging China

On October 14, 2021, China Business News ran a feature on the second baby-boomer population. The article was based on an interview with Yuan Xin, professor at the School of Economics of Nankai University, Tianjin, China.


Since 1949, China has experienced three “baby boomer periods.” They were from 1950 to1958, 1962 to 1975, and 1981 to1997. Those born during the three “baby boomer periods” will enter their 60s in 2010 to 2018, 2022 to 2035, and 2041 to 2057. These periods will bring three “shock waves” to China’s economy. 


Next year, China’s second baby-boomer population will officially become 60 years old.


Yuan said that at the end of the 21st century, the population of 60 and above will remain at 400 million and account for over 37 percent of the entire population in China.


Yuan said that, compared with other countries in the world, China’s elderly population has four unique characteristics.


One, China has a large number of older people who are 60 and above. According to the United Nations (UN) “World Population Prospects 2019,” forecast data shows that in 2052, China’s population of people at age 60 and above will reach the peak of 490 million people. One out of every four older people in the world will live in China.


Two, China is aging at an unprecedented rapid speed. Yuan said that the average annual growth rate of China’s elderly population far exceeds the average annual growth rate of the total population. The rate of population aging in China is faster than in countries with more than 100 million people.


Three, China has a larger share of the population aged 60 and above in its total population. In 2000, ten percent of its total population were 60 and above (aging country). The 2020 national census shows that the figure has reached 18.7 percent. It will exceed 20 percent in 2025 (making China a deeply aging country) and 30 percent in 2041 (making it a severely aging country), according to the United Nations. This means that it will take China 25 years from 2000 to transition from an aging country to a deeply aging country in 2025. That is 45 to 50 years faster than the average of developed countries. 

Further, it will take merely 16 years for China to transition from a deeply aging country in 2025 to a severely aging country in 2041, 14 years faster than the average of developed countries. In 2041, China will have  one of the oldest populations in the world.


Four, China is a super-stable aging country. When the rapid aging process is over, China will be a super-stable aging country in the second half of the 21st century due to its large senior population. By then, the size of China’s elderly population will remain between 400 million and 480 million, which is between 35 percent and 38 percent of its total population. 


Source: China Business Network, October 14, 2021