Facts and figures: widening gap between China's urban, rural areas

The following are statistics about the gap between China's urban and rural areas.

Income: The average income of urban residents was 2.57 times that of rural residents in 1978, but the gap expanded to 3.22 times in 2005. In particular, the gap has widened markedly since 1997.

Education: The ratio of lecturer-level teachers in rural primary schools was 35.9 percent in 2004, 8.9 percentage points lower than that in urban primary schools.

Medical care: Eighty percent of medical resources are concentrated in cities. Only 22.5 percent of rural people are covered by rural cooperative medical care system.

Infrastructure: Half of villages do not have access to tap water. More than 60 percent of rural households do not have access to flush toilets. The houses of nearly 70 million rural residents need to be improved. Some 150 million rural households face problems in fuel supply. Six percent of villages are still beyond the reach of highways. Two percent of villages have no electricity supply. Six percent of villages do not have telephones.

The gap between rural and urban areas is partly attributed to historical reasons. The government has started to make preferential policies to boost rural development.

People's Daily Online --- http://english.people.com.cn/