chapter  24
Demographic ageing in China
Economic problem or social opportunity?
WithPhil Mullan, Bill Durodié
Pages 12

‘China is destined to get old before it gets rich’: this statement encapsulates wide-spread concerns about the consequences of population ageing in the People’s Republic of China. There are many non-demographic reasons why China’s economic progress is likely to see some step down from the double-digit growth rates that had become customary. This chapter suggests that China should be able to grow fast enough to afford the costs arising from an older population. The fact that China’s economy has been growing rapidly with an ageing population is reason alone to question today’s demographic concerns over the implications for future economic growth. The most vivid illustration of the so-called demographic time-bomb is the projected increase in the old-age dependency ratio. Some conjecture that ageing results in less savings being available for investment and hence economic growth suffers.