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Internal economic development inequalities: China
China's recent economic growth has created an increase in wealth for some. This
was expected but was thought to trickle down into the lower levels of
development. However, there is evidence that the inequality between rich and poor
within China is growing. China has a gini coefficient of 0.47 (gini coefficient is a
measure of how well wealth is distributed amongst a society 0=equality and 1=
inequality) and this is above the rating of 0.4 which is generally thought of as a
warning sign for serious inequalities.
Much of China's state services such as housing, healthcare and the social benefits
that resulted from them became privatised and along with the claiming of rural
land for industry this has created the opportunities for an increase in personal
economic wealth. The average wealth per person in China is around $17,000
however the median wealth per person is just over $6,000 which suggests that
there are huge inequalities in the way this wealth is spread out between the
country's population. The privatisation of public services had negatives for the
majority of the population who then had to pay for these services through their
own personal savings.
Many inequalities occur between the urban and rural gap in China's society.
Although China is urbanising, 50.3% of its population are still rural and relies on
agriculture for its main source of income, keeping economic growth low. Rural
residents had an average disposable income of $898 compared to urban residents
who have a disposable income of $2,900. Also several of China's poorest provinces
such as Tibet and Sichuan have been identified as having at least 50 unbanked
counties, so the economic level of development was so low here that access to basic
financial services was not affordable for most people. The gini coefficient within
rural areas has grown from 0.35 to 0.38 between 2000 and 2010 suggesting the
inequality is getting worse within rural areas as well. There is also evidence of
inequality between urban and rural through the ownership of household goods. For
example, 65.7 per 100 households in urban areas have access to a computer
compared to just 7.5 in rural areas.
China is as a whole becoming a much more economically developed country however,
this has not stopped any internal variations in economic development from