GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH ›› 2019, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (6): 1497-1511.doi: 10.11821/dlyj020180095

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Spatial and temporal evolution of the undertakings for the elderly and spatial mismatch of economy in China

Tonggang ZENG1,2(), Yuan ZHAO1,2,3()   

  1. 1. School of Geographic Science, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210023, China
    2. Jiangsu Center for Collaborative Innovation in Geographical Information Resource Development and Application, Nanjing 210023, China
    3. Ginling College, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210097, China
  • Received:2018-01-16 Revised:2018-06-20 Online:2019-06-20 Published:2019-06-12


In this study, an evaluation index system is proposed to describe the development level of the undertakings for the elderly under the theoretical framework of active aging in China, which consists of three components of health, participation, and security. Taking 31 provinces in the mainland of China as the research objects, this paper quantitatively analyzes the temporal changes, spatial pattern, spatial mismatch, and factors affecting the development of undertakings for the elderly from 2004 to 2016, with the methods of traditional mathematical statistics, gravity coupling models, spatial mismatch method, and econometric model. The results showed that: (1) The aging undertakings have rapidly developed. Although regional differences have gradually been narrowed, regional imbalances cannot be ignored. The overall level of aging undertakings in eastern China is higher than that of central, western, and northeastern China. This phenomenon is prominently accompanied with an increase in the western region and a decline in the central and northeastern regions of China, as well as polarization of the eastern region in aging undertakings; (2) The development of China's aging undertakings was basically at a low-level. The spatial distribution has shifted from a southwest-northeast radiative diminishing pattern to a significant "central collapse" pattern. There is a low-value agglomeration from north to south, running across the central region of China, which is closely related with the regional economic development; (3) Forward dislocation regions are mainly concentrated in the coastal regions and areas north of the Great Wall. In addition, negative dislocation areas are mainly distributed in the upper and middle reaches of both the Yellow and the Yangtze rivers. Several significant regional differences were observed, particularly in China's western region; (4) The variations of development levels in aging undertakings result from multifactor interactions. The level of economic development, the government policy, the administrative guidance, and spatio-temporal differentiation of the market mechanism have positive influences on the evolution of the patterns of aging undertakings. The expansion of market economy and the aging of population have not yet played a role in promoting the development of undertakings for the aged, which is not in line with theoretical expectations. The reverse effect of household size miniaturization is not significant.

Key words: active aging, the level of the aging undertakings, temporal and spatial evolution, spatial mismatch, China