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China’s Gini coefficient exceeded 0.4 in 2017

(People's Daily Online)    14:59, February 06, 2018

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China’s statistics chief has vowed for further reforms to narrow the country’s income gap between rich and poor, noting that China’s economy is entering a high-quality developmental phase.

In a paper addressing China’s economic inequality in January, Ning Jizhe, head of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), said that income inequality remained “relatively serious” at 0.4 in 2017, as measured by the Gini coefficient, a measure of income disparity widely used by economists and governmental sectors around the world.

China’s Gini coefficient has been standing above 0.4 for years, a number that is defined by UN-Habitat as an “international alert line.” According to statistics from NBS, China’s Gini coefficient reached a peak of 0.491 in 2008 and has since then dropped steadily.

“The Chinese government is looking to 2020 in terms of eliminating the remaining poverty in the country, yet the mission remains arduous. Regional income disparity and the urban-rural wealth gap remain large, while China’s public utility stock accounts for only 40 percent of Western Europe and less than 30 percent of North America,” said Ning.

In addition to income disparity, Ning also noted head-on issues including pollution and deficiency in advanced technologies. According to NBS, China’s clinical medicine and robot industries have been heavily reliant on imports, while the self-sufficiency rate of integrated circuits remains less than 20 percent. Moreover, among 388 cities in China at or above the prefecture level in 2017, only one fourth have reached air quality standards.

“Despite all the problems, China’s economic growth remains stable in 2017. In order to maintain high-quality development of the national economy, we should address social issues that affect our citizens, including education, housing, healthcare, and poverty alleviation,” said Chen.

According to Chen, China will continue perfecting the statistics system for Chinese citizens’ income and expenditure, enhancing the supervision on income distribution system, as well as improve price control, in an effort to promote more income equality.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Kou Jie, Bianji)

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