China's income distribution 'highly unbalanced': expert

11:33, December 13, 2009      

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China's distribution of income has reached a "highly unbalanced" level, Zeng Xiangquan, director of the School of Labor and Human Resources of People's University of China said Wednesday.

According to the statistics released by the Ministry of Finance recently, the assets of China's wealthiest 10 percent families make up 45 percent of the total wealth of urban residents.

By comparison, 10 percent the families with the lowest income account for only 1.4 percent of the total income of the families in the whole country.

"It has been an indisputable fact in our country that the gap between the rich and poor is increasing," Zeng said.

He cited the Gini coefficient, commonly used as a measure of inequality of income or wealth. From 1978 to 1984, the Gini Index in China was at 0.16, while from 1984, the index began to climb and reached 0.473 in 2007.

Zeng pointed out that the index below 0.2 shows the income distribution is "highly balanced", the number between 0.2 to 0.4 shows the distribution is "relatively unbalanced", and numbers above 0.4 shows that the wealth distribution is "highly unbalanced".

Meanwhile, the gap between 20 percent of the wealthiest families and 20 percent of the poorest families is also large. The incomes of those wealthiest families were 8.9 times higher than those poorest families in urban areas. In the rural areas the gap was even larger at 6.7 times.

Also, the data also showed that at present, low-income and lower-middle income groups account for 64.3 percent of the total population.

Source: Global Times
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