What is the {term}? Working-age Population

The working-age population is the total population in a region that is considered able and likely to work based on the number of people in a predetermined age range. The working-age population measure is used to give an estimate of the total number of potential workers within an economy.

BREAKING DOWN Working-age Population

Each region uses a different range of ages based on differences in local employment law and other considerations. It typically includes at least those between the ages of 18 to 64 with some ranges including those between the ages of 15 and 64.

Number of People In the Age Range

The working-age population is determined based solely on the number of people that fall into a specified age range to give an estimate of the number of capable workers available within a particular economy, country or other specified region. The measure does not differentiate between those that are working and those that are currently unemployed within the range because the working-age population is designed to consider how many people are likely willing and able to work.

The working-age population also does not account for certain outliers, such as those who are working but who fall outside of the predetermined age range. For example, some individuals work beyond the standard retirement age, or some individuals within the age range are incapable of working due to illness or disability.

Working-age versus Working Population

The working-age population should not be confused with the working population. While the working-age population includes anyone within the specified age range, the working population is based on the number of people who are employed regardless of age. People can be part of both the working-age and working populations, part of one or the other, or part of neither.

Changes to Working-age Statistics

The working-age population of an economy is always shifting as the demographics of a region change. Large changes have the potential to significantly impact the economy. For example, if you have a relatively small working-age population compared to the youth and retired segments, the economy will rely on a smaller population to generate revenues while a population with considerably sized youth and retired segments will rely on those working and require the provision of social programs.

In China in 2015, the working-age population declined by 4.87 million, which was significant decrease compared to the 3.71 million lost in 2014. This brings concerns regarding how the changing demographics will affect the country’s overall growth rate, as well as how the non-working-age population will be supported.