China gets richer but moreunequal
Jonathan Kaimanin Beijing
The Guardian, Monday28 July 2014 10.48 EDT
Abouta third of China's wealth held by 1% of citizens, with disparity greatestbetween affluent east coast and poorer interior
Chinese visitors to a business aviationexhibition walk past a luxury private jet. Photograph: Mark Ralston/AFP/GettyImages
China is becoming more unequal asit gets richer, with about a third of the country's wealth now concentrated inthe hands of 1% of its citizens, according to new research.
A report by the Peking UniversityInstitute of Social Science Survey also found that the poorest quarter ofChinese citizens owned only 1% of the country's wealth.
The report, which was covered extensively by China's statemedia, concludes that while the country is getting richer as a whole – theaverage net worth of a Chinese household rose 17% between 2010 and 2012 to$71,000 (￡42,000) – inequality is a serious and growing problem.
It says the country's Gini coefficient,a widely used indicator of economic inequality, has grown sharply over the pasttwo decades.
A Gini coefficient of zero represents absolute equality,while one represents absolute inequality. About 20 years ago, China's Ginicoefficient for family net wealth was 0.45, accordingto the the People's Daily website, a Communist party mouthpiece, but by2012 it had risen to 0.73.
According to some analysts, societies that have a Ginicoefficient of more than 0.40 are at increased risk of widespread social unrest. Data from theOECD gives the US the highest Gini coefficient in the G7, after taxes andtransfers, at 0.39, followed by the UK at 0.34 and Italy at 0.32.
In the US, the richest 1% of the population controls about 40% of thecountry's wealth.
The Chinese study, which took its data from a large-scalesurvey conducted by Peking University researchers in 2012, said nearlythree-quarters of Chinese household wealth comes from property investments.
"This data is fresh. We know about national wealth,how much everybody's wealth has grown, but we still don't have many numbers onindividual wealth," said Li Wei, a sociologist at the Chinese Academy ofSocial Sciences. "I'm very glad that academic institutions are putting somuch work into research, and presenting this data about how our economy isreally doing.
"In the future, government departments should takeresponsibility for collecting this information and presenting it quickly andtransparently."
Li said China's biggest wealth discrepancies used to bebetween rural and urban areas, but a major nationwide urbanisation campaign hadnarrowed yiqing001.com the gap. The greatest economic divisions were now between the affluenteast coast and the relatively impoverished interior, and among different areasof individual cities and provinces, he said.
According to a Credit Suisse's 2013 global wealth report, about 1% of the world's populationholds 46% of its total assets. The richest 10% of earners own 86% of allwealth, and the bottom half owns less than 1%.
28 July 2014 4:21pm
C'est la vie. Like it or not.
28 July 2014 4:34pm
Communism working well as ever...
28 July 2014 4:46pm
" Peking University researchers in 2012, said nearlythree-quarters of Chinese household wealth comes from property investments."
Do I hear a bubble about to burst?
I personally think we should be more worried about the state of China's
banks. They should be more internationally audited, but they are
national banks cropped up & fully protected by their leaders.We already know Socialism with Chinese Characteristics istantamount to Rampant Capitalism. Their future is similar to ours, property speculation
with banking loan tendencies & we all know where speculation leads to.
28 July 2014 5:02pm
Yes siree! They are livin' the American dream!
28 July 2014 5:17pm
I understand UK is getting richer too, but don't tell meit's getting more unequal…..must be a communist chinese specificity!
28 July 2014 5:22pm
Animal Farm...is that banned in China?