Data and Statistics about Pensions and Aging in Asia

One of the major challenges facing developing Asia today is how to provide affordable, adequate, and sustainable old-age income support for a growing elderly population. This is a matter of urgent concern particularly in East and Southeast Asia where countries are at a more advanced stage of the demographic transition from a youthful to an older population.

Published by ADB in September 2012, Pension Systems in East and Southeast Asia: Promoting Fairness and Sustainability looks at the pension systems in eight countries: People’s Republic of China (PRC), Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam.

Here’s a snapshot, by the numbers, of the key issues discussed in the book.

A rapidly aging population

200 million: The number of senior citizens in the PRC by 2015. The country now has more senior citizens than all European Union countries combined.

15%: The percentage of persons aged 65 and older in Malaysia by 2050, which is triple the 2010 percentage of 4.8%

20 years: The time needed for Viet Nam to make the transition from aging to aged, in comparison to 26 years for Japan and 22 years for Thailand—the two countries that have always been considered to be the most rapidly aging in the region

A question of sustainability

2: The potential support ratio of the working-age population to the retired population in the PRC by 2040. The current ratio stands at 6.

2.7 and 1.7: The ratio of working-age persons to the elderly in Singapore in 2030 and 2050, dropping from 8.2 in 2010

Inequitable systems

14%: The percentage of private formal sector workers that are covered by the pension system in Indonesia. In contrast, the system covers 100% of civil servants and military personnel.

70%: The percentage of people older than 65 who do not receive old-age pensions in the Republic of Korea though, theoretically, coverage is universal in the country

10.4%: The contribution rate of the mandatory pension program for private sector workers in the Philippines, compared with 21% under the scheme for public sector workers. This accounts for the shorter fund life of the private sector scheme.