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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Rich getting richer faster as wealth gap widens

(Shanghai Daily)

10:56, December 06, 2011

The gap between rich and the poor in China is widening despite a substantial growth in incomes since 1978, according to the latest research.

The average income of the richest 10 percent of the urban population was 8.9 times that of the poorest 10 percent in 2009 compared with 2.9 times in 1985, while urban residents earned 3.3 times more than their rural counterparts in 2009, according to a Chinese consumer research report published by Science Press.

Earnings have increased markedly since China opened its door to the world in 1979, but along with that has come a yawning divide between rich and poor and the urban and rural population, according to the report.

From 1978 to 2010, the urban per capita disposable income soared 55 times. Rural residents, however, saw a 43-fold increase in their income.

The earnings gap between the city and the countryside narrowed to 1.8 to 2.3 times during the 1980s from 2.5 to 2.6 times in the late 1970s, but widened to 3.3 times in 2009. Experts, taking into account housing subsidies, health care, education and other social welfare benefits that urban citizens are entitled to, said the actual income disparity may reach six times.

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