Future impacts of population aging and urbanization on household consumption in China

ZHU Qin1 WEI Taoyuan2

(1.School of Social Development and Public Policy, Fudan University Center for Population and Development Policy Studies, Fudan University)
(2.Center for International Climate and Environmental Research-Oslo (CICERO), Norway.)

【Abstract】Based on the estimation of the age-specific consumption pattern in both urban and rural China, this paper simulates and analyzes the impacts of population structure characterized by aging and urbanization on household consumption in the near future, and quantifies their contributions. Results show that household consumption presents a significant age pattern. The urban household consumption pattern differs remarkably from that of rural households within each age group. Assuming a constant consumption structure by age, population aging does not have strong impact on the aggregate household consumption in China in 2050 compared with that in 2010, although it can significantly affect the consumption structure. For example, population aging leads to the growth of health care consumption. Population urbanization can considerably promote household consumption. The impact of population size on household consumption will be far less than that of population aging and urbanization. Their contributions to the consumption are relatively stable under various scenarios of population projections and economic growth.

【Keywords】 household consumption; age-specific consumption pattern; aging; urbanization; Chinese Family Panel Studies (CFPS);


【Funds】 Major Program of Natural Science Foundation of China(71490735) Shanghai Pujiang Program (16PJC019) Research Council of Norway (244119)

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    [1]. ① Chinese Family Panel Studies(CFPS) is a “985” funded project of Peking University and is carried out by the Institute of Social Science Survey, Peking University. [^Back]

    [2]. ① At the present stage, the feature “urban and rural inversion” of population aging in China’s urbanization (Zhu, 2014) is the stage product of urbanization development. In the medium and long run, with the aging of the group of the shifting population from rural areas to urban areas, the degree of aging of the urban population will surpass the rural population again; and when the urbanization is basically completed, the age structure of the urban population and that of the rural population will eventually come up to convergence to a great extent. Therefore, it is not irrational to assume that China’s urban and rural population will share the same age structure in 2050. [^Back]


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This Article


CN: 11-1489/C

Vol 40, No. 06, Pages 62-75

November 2016


Article Outline


  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 Model and method
  • 3 Data, results and analyses
  • 4 Discussions
  • 5 Conclusion and policy implications
  • Footnote