Toward Universal Social Security Coverage in the People's Republic of China

Date: December 2010
Type: Papers and Briefs
Series: Observations and Suggestions


Social security has proven to reduce poverty, narrow income inequality and sustain economic growth. Further, access to social protection creates a healthy labor force, reduces work absenteeism and improves productivity levels. By securing incomes and protecting workers from social risks, in particular from those associated with disease and old-age, a comprehensive social security system reduces income inequalities, fosters consumption and the role of domestic demand as a driver of growth, and, ultimately, supports more inclusive growth.

There are three main challenges to be addressed to achieve universal coverage: population aging, accelerating urbanization, and labor market reform. This policy note aims to identify the major gaps of the current social security system in the PRC and, by reviewing successful international experiences, to propose policy recommendations toward universal social security coverage.