Working-Age Population

What is the 'Working-Age Population'

The working-age population is the total population in a region that is considered to be able and likely to work based on the portion of the population belonging to a certain 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 including those between the ages of 15 and 64.

Number of People In Age Range

The working-age population is determined based solely on the number of people that fall into a specified age range, producing an estimate regarding the number of capable workers are available within a particular economy, country or other specified region. It does not differentiate between those that are actually working and those that are currently unemployed within the range, as 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 exist outside of the predetermined age range, such as individuals working beyond the standard retirement age, or those within the age range that 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 actually 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 the Working-Age Statistics

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

In China in 2015, the working-age populations was seen to decline by 4.87 million, which was a more significant decrease than 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.