By the end of 2004, the number of China's rural residents classified as "in abject poverty" fell by 2.9 million from the previous year, according to statistics released Thursday by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The number of rural residents living in abject poverty stood at 26.1 million at the end of 2004, or 2.8 percent of the total rural population. At the same time, low-income residents, or those who have primarily solved food and clothing problems, stood at 49.77 million, a fall of 6.4 million from the previous year, accounting for 5.3 percent of the total rural population.
In 2004, the official per capita income standard for abject poverty had been raised from 637 yuan in the previous year to 668 yuan, while that for low-income was raised from 882 yuan to 924 yuan
The NBS analysis said that in 2004 the Chinese government continued to pay high attention to the issue of rural poverty, implemented a series of beneficial policies for rural residents, largely lowered the tax burden on farmers and speeded-up the construction of the rural social security system, which all contributed to the poverty relief in rural areas.