Growing out of poverty: Trends and patterns of urban poverty in China 1988-2002

Simon Appleton, Lina Song, Qingjie Xia

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


This paper estimates trends in absolute poverty in urban China using the Chinese Household Income Project surveys. Poverty incidence curves are plotted, showing lower poverty in 2002 than in 1988 irrespective of the poverty line chosen. Incomes of the poorest fell during 1988-95, contributing to a rise in inequality. However, inequality has been fairly constant thereafter. Models of the determination of income and poverty reveal widening differentials by education, sex, and Communist Party membership. Income from government anti-poverty programs has little impact on poverty, which has fallen almost entirely due to overall economic growth rather than redistribution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)665-678
Number of pages14
JournalWorld Development
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Asia
  • China
  • Economic growth
  • Inequality
  • Poverty
  • Welfare

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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