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China’s rapid demographic transition has led to the shrinking of the
working-age share of the population and has raised concerns about
population aging. Concerns have arisen over the old-age support and
social security system in both rural and urban areas, as have worries
about potential labor supply and labor market shortages in the future
and the appropriateness of fertility and family-planning policies. This
chapter reviews China’s demographic transition, with a particular
focus on rural areas and on aging and fertility. Results are based on new
estimates from a team comprising the China Academy of Social
Sciences (CASS), China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), and the
World Bank. These estimates emphasize the importance of understanding the effects of migration on population structure and distribution. Not only will old-age dependency ratios rise rapidly, but this
trend is likely to be much more pronounced in rural areas (consistent
with anecdotal concerns about the “hollowing out” of villages because
of migration). Such changes are likely to put additional strains on
informal support networks, which are already unable to …


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