Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



For some time, Chinese government policies have treated rural and urban areas very differently, and a by-product of China’s rapid development seems to be an even greater differentiation between urban and rural social and economic life. Over the next several decades, in part because of rapid fertility declines and in part as a result of mortality declines at older ages, China and other developing countries will experience enormous increases in the proportion of older adults and the proportion of the “oldest-old.” It is reasonable to expect that these age structure changes will alter the provision of health care, making an understanding of the determinants of health at older ages critical for the development and implementation of policy. The analysis in this Population Council working paper describes differences in mortality and examines the extent to which variations are accounted for by socioeconomic and health-access and health-availability characteristics that are measured at individual and community levels. On the individual level, cadre status is influential and at the community level, the important measure is the number of amenities available to residents.