China poverty numbers likely to rise

April 5, 2011 - 0:0

When it comes to fighting poverty, China has been more successful than the world’s other most populous nation, India. According to the World Bank, less than 3% of the population lives on less than a dollar-a-day, compared to more than 20% in India. But that number in China will likely rise if the government raises the income baseline for its official poverty count. Around 35 million Chinese live under the official dollar-a-day poverty line.

The number of Chinese living in poverty is expected to reach 100 million if the country decides to consider people who earn up to 1,500 yuan ($229) a year as being poor, a senior poverty alleviation official has said.
To now be deemed impoverished, a person must make less than 1,196 yuan a year.
China is expected to place an even greater emphasis on fighting poverty in 2011, said Lin Jialai, executive vice-president of the China Association of Poverty Alleviation and Development.
“In that case, China faces new challenges to fight poverty in the coming 10 years, since the new poverty limit might cause the impoverished population to expand by up to 90 million people or 100 million,” Jialai said.
The government’s latest five year plan has rural poverty and building out the social safety net at its core. More poor people added to the official population roster will likely force the government to focus financial resources towards those populations. China’s population is aging, and while a growing middle class tax base is able to sustain most of them, that tax base would be heavily burdened if the average retired person in China was living in poverty in the next five to 10 years.