Thursday, June 03, 2010


IWS Documented News Service
Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach
School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies
Cornell University
16 East 34th Street, 4th floor----------------------
Stuart Basefsky
New York, NY 10016 -------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau


International Labour Organization (ILO)

Employment Policy Department (EMP/POLICY)

Employment Working Paper No. 57


Demographic ageing and employment in China [2 June 2010]

D.U. Yang & Wang Meiyan, Institute of Population and Labour Economics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

[full-text, 49 pages]



This study by D.U. Yang and W. Meiyan brings to light the current and emerging

issues concerning the implications of demographic change on the labour market in China.

While population ageing is a major achievement of our times it presents major challenges

for the world of work that need to be addressed. China’s population is ageing very rapidly.

Sharp declines in fertility combined with increased life expectancy are changing the

population structure in a major way. The low level of benefits and their limited coverage

push large numbers of older people (particularly older women) to continue working in the

informal economy. The combination of old-age, poverty and exclusion is therefore of great



The China study discusses the main economic and labour market issues and

implications related to population ageing in China and presents an overview of current

policy responses. Section 1 of the study describes the main current and future demographic

trends. Section 2 analyzes overall labour market trends in China and labour market

outcomes of the older population. The section also explores the key determinants for

termination of employment of older workers and illustrates key issues related with

extending working lives of older workers as well as employers’ attitudes towards them.

Section 3 focuses on the poverty incidence in the old age in urban and rural areas and

presents recent government interventions targeting poor elderly people. Section 4 presents

the main challenges of the current pension system in both urban and rural China. The final

section puts forward some policy suggestions towards ensuring a secure and decent old age

for the Chinese population.





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Stuart Basefsky                   
Director, IWS News Bureau                
Institute for Workplace Studies 
Cornell/ILR School                        
16 E. 34th Street, 4th Floor             
New York, NY 10016                        
Telephone: (607) 255-2703                
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