In the decades ahead, China will have a very large older population, with many older adults who are relatively healthy and interested in being actively engaged in their communities. Contributions of older adults will be necessary for social and economic development of families, communities and society. Peking University Press recently published a book in Chinese called “Productive Aging in the World: Toward Evidence-Based Practice and Policy.” Edited by Ada Mui, Nancy Morrow-Howell, and Du Peng, the book is the result of a conference on productive aging in August 2011 at Peking University, co-organized by the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and Peking University in Beijing. The 2011 conference was the second of its kind in China, the first also organized by CSD at Shandong University in 2009.
The world is in the midst of a demographic revolution. Globally, those aged 60 and above will comprise 13.6 percent of the population by 2020, and 22.1 percent of the population by 2050. In the United States, these numbers will be even higher. As the aging population grows in China, the United States, and around the world, it will be necessary to develop programs that support active engagement in later life.
In its work on productive aging, CSD seeks to advance national and international innovation and research to involve older adults in employment, volunteering, caregiving, education, and other productive activities. CSD’s longstanding partnerships in China have made the Chinese conferences possible. Michael Sherraden, director of CSD, has initiated conferences and developed resources for the work on productive aging over the past 15 years. Nancy Morrow-Howell, faculty associate of CSD, has provided academic leadership. For the 2011 conference, she was joined by Ada Mui of Columbia University and Du Peng of Renmin University. Li Zou, international director of CSD, organized the China conferences, arranged the book publications, and engaged policy makers. The English language book from the conference will be published by Taylor and Francis in the United Kingdom. The Productive Aging Conference was supported in part by the Office of Chancellor Mark Wrighton at Washington University.