China: Population Age Distribution, by year
Year0-14 y,
in %
15-64 y,
in %
65 y+,
in %
  • Region: China
  • Time period: 2013 to 2023
  • Published: Feb 2024

Data Analysis and Insights

Updated: Mar 29, 2024 | Published by: Statistico

Shifting Age Demographics: Increasing Elderly Population

Between 2013 and 2023, China experienced a significant shift in its age demographics, most notably with the elderly population (65 years and older) increasing from 9.7% to 15.4%. This 5.7 percentage point rise reflects a growing trend towards an aging population. Concurrently, the proportion of the population aged 0-14 years decreased from 16.4% to 16.3%, and the 15-64 years demographic slightly adjusted from 73.9% to 68.3%. These changes underline a demographic transition with potential impacts on the labor market, economic growth, and social services.

Decline in the Working-Age Population

Over a decade, the working-age population (15-64 years) in China has declined by 5.6 percentage points, from 73.9% in 2013 to 68.3% in 2023. This decline signifies a potential challenge for the country's economic vitality, as a smaller proportion of the population is in the prime of their working lives, which could affect productivity and innovation.

Increasing Proportion of the Elderly

The pace at which the elderly population (65 years and older) is growing presents critical implications for public policy and social services. With an increase of nearly 60% in its share, rising from 9.7% in 2013 to 15.4% in 2023, there is an evident need for enhanced healthcare, retirement, and elderly care services to accommodate this demographic shift.

Stability in Youth Population Percentage

The youth population (0-14 years) has shown remarkable stability over the past decade, with only minor fluctuations. It decreased slightly from 16.4% in 2013 to 16.3% in 2023, indicating a relatively stable birth rate or child population size within the context of overall demographic changes in China.

Comparison of Demographic Trends

A closer examination of the year-on-year changes reveals that the most significant demographic shift occurred in the elderly population (65 years and older), which consistently increased every year. In contrast, the 0-14 years and 15-64 years age groups exhibited more variability, with the former showing slight annual changes and the latter gradually decreasing, highlighting varied impacts on societal structures such as schools and the workforce.

Implications for Dependency Ratios

The evolving age structure, characterized by an increasing elderly population and a shrinking working-age demographic, suggests a rising dependency ratio. This shift implies that a smaller proportion of the working-age population will need to support a growing number of elderly dependents, posing challenges to social security systems and economic sustainability.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the shift seen in China's elderly population?

China's elderly population, those aged 65 and over, rose from 9.7% to 15.4% between 2013 and 2023.

How did China's working-age population change?

China's working-age population, those aged 15-64 years, declined by 5.6 percentage points, from 73.9% to 68.3% from 2013 to 2023.

What trends are observed in China's youth population?

China's youth population, those aged 0-14 years, displayed remarkable stability, decreasing slightly from 16.4% to 16.3% over the past decade.

Terms and Definitions

A term referring to the group of individuals of the same species residing in a specific geographic region. In this case, it pertains to the human inhabitants of China.

A statistical representation that displays the proportion of a population divided into different age groups. It typically takes the form of a population pyramid, which provides detailed insights about the demographic makeup of a society.

Refers to the statistical data relating to the population and particular groups within it, such as age, gender, income, and education. Demographics are often used in research, marketing, politics, and social studies.

A graphical representation that shows the distribution of various age groups in a population, which forms the shape of a pyramid when the population is growing. It is typically divided into males and females and gives the viewer a quick glance at the age and gender makeup of a population.

A national count of a country's population typically conducted at regular intervals, like every five or ten years. It collects various demographic information, including age, sex, occupation, and educational attainment, allowing for a detailed analysis of population trends.

A measure that shows the number of dependents, aged 0-14 and over the age of 65, to the total population, aged 15-64. This is used as an indicator of the economic pressure on the productive population.

This term refers to a demographic shift where the median age of a country's population increases due to rising life expectancy and/or declining birth rates. An ageing population often leads to a higher dependency ratio.
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