Resources Science ›› 2018, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (1): 104-116.doi: 10.18402/resci.2018.01.10

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Impact of income growth and aging on the water footprintof food consumption in urban China

Fei XU1(), Caiping ZHANG2(), Junfei BAI1   

  1. 1. College of Economics & Management, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100083, China;
    2. School of Economics, Central University of Finance and Economics, Beijing 100081, China
  • Received:2017-06-05 Revised:2017-11-05 Online:2018-01-20 Published:2018-01-20


Scientifically using the concept of water footprint will help people understand the complex relationship between human activities and natural resources. Water footprint affects the evaluation and management of water resources. Here, we attempt to establish a relationship between socioeconomic factors and water footprint through food consumption. We point out how socioeconomic factors affect the water demand of food consumption. Based on a week-long diary survey of 2, 023 households from 10 cities in China, we aimed to empirically analyze water footprints behind food consumption and identify influencing factors, with specific attention to the impact of income growth and population aging. We forecast future trends in the water footprint of food consumption in urban China based on different circumstances for income growth and population aging. The results show that the water footprint behind food consumption increases with a decreasing rate as income rises, suggesting a continually growing pressure on water supply until the water footprint reaches a turning point around the year 2027. In contrast to the income effect, China's aging population has a significant negative effect on the water footprint of food consumption. Understanding this nature and making full use of population aging effects will help to find more scientific and dynamic methods to coordinate pressures on water resource. Our results show that food consumed away from home plays a significant role in understanding the water footprint of food consumption, suggesting a potential downward bias without considering this part.

Key words: food consumption, water footprint, income growth, aging