China looks set to raise its retirement age

Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

The average retirement age in China is under 55, the earliest in the world. However, with an aging population and life expectancy growing, the goverment is reviewing the nation’s retirement policy.

Yes, it looks like China will join Australia in pushing out its retirement age in the years ahead.

According to state-run newspaper People’s Daily, a well-known mouthpiece for China’s communist party, the country’s retirement system was formulated in 1953 and allows men to retire as early as 60 and women at 55, a comparatively high level given the average life expectancy at the time was just 50 years.

However, with current life expectancy now over 70, the goverment says it is “high time” the retirement age should be reviewed.

“There will be an average of 1.3 people of working age for every retired person in China by 2050,” said Yin Weimin, China’s human resources and social security minister.

“This compares to the current ratio of 3.04 working-age people for each retired person.”

Yin notes that by 2050 those aged over 60 will make up 38.6% of China’s population, up from just 15.5% today.

According to Yin, any adjustment to the retirement age would be “gradual”, with the age to be raised by just a few months each year. He also says any proposed reforms would be released to the public well in advance.

The proposed changes to China’s retirement age echoes increases in other developed nations. In 2009 the Rudd-Labor government increased Australia’s retirement age from 65 to 67, a policy change due to take effect from 2023. More recently, former treasurer Joe Hockey attempted to lengthen the retirement age to 70 as part of his controversial 2014/15 federal budget, something that was subsequently voted down by Labor and the minor parties.

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