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China’s Gini Coefficient Reached 0.438 in 2010

Last Friday, September 14, 2012, the International Institute for Urban Development released the “Blue Book on China’s Social Management.” According to the Blue Book, the income disparity between the rich and poor in China continues to widen. China’s Gini coefficient hit 0.438, which is above the 0.4 United Nations warning level. (The UN usually draws the line for alarm at 0.4. Above that number indicates a high potential for social instability.) The figure went from 0.275 in the 1980s to 0.438 at the end of 2010 and will likely rise further.

The Blue Book cited statistics showing that urban residents’ income is three times that of rural residents. Within the same industry, the highest salary is 15 times that of the lowest salary. The income of senior management at companies whose stock is listed on stock exchanges is 18 times that of frontline employees. The salary of senior management at state-owned enterprises is 128 times that of the average salary of people in society. In 2007, the top 10 percent of the population received incomes that were 23 times those of the lowest 10 percent, an increase from the 7.3 times that was reported in 1988.

(Editor’s note: Radio Free Asia reported in January 2012 that the National Bureau of Statistics stated China’s Gini Coefficient for the year 2010 was “a little higher than it was for the year 2000.”)

Sources: Beijing News reprinted at, September 15, 2012
RFA, January 9, 2012