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Urban-rural income gap narrowing in China

(China Economic Net)

15:21, October 20, 2011

Edited and translated by People's Daily Online

The income gap between urban and rural areas is narrowing, according to the statistics issued by the National Bureau of Statistics of China (NBS) on Oct. 18, 2011.

Over the previous three quarters, China's urban per capita disposable income rose to 16,301 yuan annually, a year-on-year rise of 13.7 percent, while rural residents' per capita disposable income rose 20.7 percent compared to last year and now sits at 5,874 yuan. The absolute difference between urban and rural income was 10,426 yuan, and the ratio was 2.77-to-1, which was down to less than 3-to-1 for the first time since 2002.

The income of China's residents has been increasing evidently since this year. In the first quarter, the urban per capita disposable income was 5,963 yuan, rising 12.3 percent year on year, while the per capita cash income of rural residents was 2,187 yuan, a 14.3 percent actual growth compared to last year.

In the first half of this year, the urban per capita disposable income reached 11,041 yuan, a 13.2 percent year-on-year growth compared to last year, while the per capita cash income of rural residents was 3,706 yuan, an increase of 20.4 percent year on year.

For the last three quarters, the urban and rural income ratio went up from 2.73-to-1 to 2.99-to-1, then down to 2.77-to-1, always keeping below 3-to-1 for the first time since 2002, a significant reduction of the income gap between urban and rural areas.

The urban-rural income ratio is an important indicator for measuring income gap between the two areas. Since 2002, the ratio has always remained above 3-to-1 and even grew to 3.33-to-1 in 2007 and 2009. The high income gap between urban and rural residents in China has become one of the most important problems of economic development. In recent years, along with the rapid growth of farmers' incomes, the urban-rural income gap has been narrowing after years of widening.

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