its past or its peers

Irelia20150604

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi everyone! I'm not sure about the meaning of the expression " its past or its peers". Does it mean "the dependency ratio in China's past and the dependency ratio in other countries at this time" ?

the context is as follows:
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China's dependency ratio (the number of Chinese not of working age as a percentage of those who are) is still low, compared with its past or its peers. It was lower in 2011 than in any recent year except 2010. It was also lower than the ratio in all but five countries, according to UN figures.

source: http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2012/01/chinas-labour-force
 
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