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Graying China sinks pensions under critical line in more provinces

Shrinking reserves and demographic time bomb build pressure for reform

Elderly people exercise in a Beijing park. The government has contributed heavily to China's pension system in order to make up for a growing deficit.   © Reuters

BEIJING -- China's pension reserves have fallen below a key government threshold in a majority of provinces, as growing deficits from a rapidly aging population threaten the system's long-term viability.

China has two main pension schemes that together cover 1 billion people. One is compulsory for urban employees and public servants, while the second serves other urban residents and the rural population. The urban employee pension system, the far larger of the two, received 16% less income in 2020 than the year before.

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