Like the French, the Chinese Are Against Raising the Retirement Age

March 25, 2023

Most Chinese would not favor retiring later; however, the government is likely to intervene anyway because of socio-economic changes due to an aging population.

According to a recent survey published by Nikkei Asia, 74% of Chinese would be in favor of retiring before age 55, compared to only 6% after age 61. Currently, the Chinese can retire at age 60 for men and 55 for women.

But the country is faced with an aging demographic, and there is likely to be only 1.25 workers per retiree within 20 years (compared to 2.26 today). According to estimates, within ten years, nearly 228 million Chinese will retire.

The position of the Chinese is not very far from that of the French demonstrators against pension reform. This materialized last February with massive demonstrations: thousands of retirees took to the streets in Wuhan and Dalian, protesting against reductions in allowances decided by local authorities to finance their social security.

To date, employees in China can retire at age 60 for men, and at 55 for women. The national average retirement age is 54.11 in the country, lower than in most developed countries.

The problem for a rapidly aging society like China is that over the years there will be less of a working population to support the economy and pay the benefits of those who are already retired. Today, in China, there are 2.26 workers contributing for every retired person; it is estimated that within 20 years, this figure will be only 1.25 workers for every retiree.

According to estimates, within the next ten years nearly 228 million Chinese will retire. The Beijing government is studying all possible responses in order to avoid endangering the social protection system. The one that is most considered is to gradually increase the retirement age to 65 for everyone, over the next thirty years.

The Chinese believe that extending a person's working life has two main consequences: there will be fewer grandparents to support and help young families with children, and there will be fewer and fewer jobs for those entering the labor market, a problem in China there youth unemployment is almost 19%.

However, China is paying for its mistakes on its population policy, in particular the one-child policy, which was recently corrected, but much too late. This demographic challenge threatens to derail the Chinese economy in a relatively short time. There are laws, grounded in human nature and created by God, which cannot be violated with impunity.