Statistics on Poverty in China

Content

1. World Bank numbers
2. Inequality
3. Geographical distribution
4. Chinese government numbers

1. World Bank numbers

The World Bank, which defines poverty as survival on less than $1.25 per day, says China reduced the poverty rate from 84% of the population to 6% in 2012.

poverty in China

(source)

In absolute numbers this means that more than 700 million Chinese people were taken out of poverty during the 30 years between 1981 and 2010:

global poverty decline

(source)

poverty china india africa

(source)

That’s an impressive achievement, especially compared to other developing regions such as India and Africa:

poverty in china

(source)

However, a lot of it is due to the fact that China started from absolutely nowhere:

Since 1978 China has liberated more people from poverty than any other country in history, partly because China before 1978 consigned more people to poverty than anywhere else in history. (source)

China still has several dozens of million poor people consuming less than $1.25 a day, but this is only a small part of all the world’s poor people:

poverty in india and china

(source)

East Asia in the graph below is mainly China.

poverty in south and east asia, compared to Africa

(source)

This graph shows again how extraordinary China’s evolution has been, compared to India, South Asia and Africa.

^ back to top

2. Inequality

China’s Gini coefficient is above 0.4, higher even than the US. The figure was only 0.27 in the 1980s and will likely rise further.

BpibQhpCEAA04o0

 

(source)

china inequality

(source)

income inequality in china

(source)

You can also see China’s rising income income inequality (as well as rising income levels) in the graph below:

chinese income distribution 1970 2006

This graph also shows increasing levels of income inequality: the annual distributions move to the right but they also become wider. A lot of this inequality is between well educated urban professionals and the urban working class, and between rural and urban populations.

Here’s another measure of inequality:

Palma-for-China-Indonesia

(source)
^ back to top

3. Geographical distribution

incidence of rural poverty in china

(source)
^ back to top

4. Chinese government numbers

China’s own system for poverty measurement also uses a poverty line (as does the U.S. and India, although obviously the level of the line is different). China recently doubled its national poverty line from 90 cents a day to $1.80 (adjusted to reflect constant 2005 purchasing power). The poverty line for rural areas is 2,300 yuan ($361) a year. About 128m Chinese countryfolk earn less. Both lines are close to the World Bank’s global standard of $1.25 per day. Compare this to other national poverty lines: the highest line is in Luxembourg, at $43 a day, while the United States, with a similar level of average consumption to Luxembourg, has a $13-a-day line.

More on poverty in China here and here.

^ back to top

14 thoughts on “Statistics on Poverty in China

  1. Pingback: A Killer Argument Against the Quantitative Approach to Human Rights? | P.A.P.-BLOG – HUMAN RIGHTS ETC.

  2. Pingback: Economic Human Rights (39): Does the Concept of Poverty Collapse Under the Weight of Historical Comparisons? | P.a.p.-Blog, Human Rights Etc.

  3. Pingback: The Causes of Poverty (65): Grammar? | P.a.p.-Blog, Human Rights Etc.

  4. Pingback: Of Chinese Dragon, African Gorilla and I « elcidharth

  5. Pingback: Human Rights Facts (74): Poverty in China, Africa and India, 1990-2013 | P.a.p.-Blog, Human Rights Etc.

  6. Pingback: China’s New Elderly Visitation Law | Health Intel Asia

  7. Pingback: Would you agree that Philippines appears the most impoverished and slum-ridden in Asia? - City-Data Forum

  8. Carlos says:

    The gap between rich and poor is increasing. So maybe the relative poverty within China is increasing too. But the absolute poverty, the number of those living of 1.25$ or less is definitivly decreasing. It has been this way for the last 30 years.

    Cheers
    Carlos

  9. Pingback: Human Rights Promotion (21): Human Rights in China | P.a.p.-Blog // Human Rights Etc.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s