Nine out of 10 people are concerned about how they will cope financially in retirement, a survey has found.
The online poll, conducted last week by the China Youth Daily and Sina.com, involved 3,871 people from across the country.
Of those questioned, 20 percent said they would be able to rely only partially on the government pension scheme, a report in the China Youth Daily said.
Almost 50 percent said they planned to rely solely on themselves.
Long Yongtu, former vice-minister for foreign trade, said at a forum earlier this month that people must not rely on the government to finance their retirement.
However, Tang Jun, a senior researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said pensions, which workers contribute to throughout their working lives, are a right for all citizens and the government should take responsibility for providing them.
With more than 11 percent of its population (140 million people) currently aged 60 or above, China has entered an "aging society", the report said.
Sixty percent of people, most from single-child families, said they felt under pressure to provide financial support for their elderly relatives.
When asked how they planned to spend their post-work years, about 10 percent said they wanted to live in a retirement home, while 74 percent said they hoped to be able to stay at home with their spouse, the report said.
The poll showed people in rural areas suffered most in old age because of their higher dependence on family members for financial support.
The situation is worsened by the fact that more and more migrant workers are choosing to stay in the cities after finding work there.
"Many migrant workers don't want to go back to their hometowns, which worsens the situation in rural China," Tang said.
Of the more than 10 million elderly people living below the poverty line last year, almost 8 million were from the countryside, the report said.
At the end of last year, pilot programs to provide old-age pensions were launched in 1,905 counties nationwide, involving 53.7 million farmers.
Currently, 3.55 million farmers receive an annual pension of 1,000 yuan.