Annual per capita disposable income of rural and urban households in China 1990-2018

In 2018, the annual per capita disposable income of rural households in China was approximately 14,617 yuan, around one third of the income of urban households. Although the living standards in China’s rural areas have improved significantly over the past 20 years, the income gap between rural and urban households is still large.

Income increase of China’s households

From 2000 to 2018, disposable income per capita in China increased by around 600 percent for urban and rural households alike. The fast-growing economy has inevitably led to the rapid income increase. Furthermore, inflation has been maintained at a lower rate in recent years compared to other countries. While the number of millionaires in China has increased, many of its population are still living in extreme poverty. Consequently, the significant wealth gap between China’s rich and poor has become a social problem across the country.

Urbanization in China

The urban population in China surpassed its rural population for the first time in 2011. In fact, the share of the population residing in urban areas is continuing to increase. This is not surprising considering remote, rural areas are among the poorest areas in China. Currently, poverty alleviation has been prioritized by the Chinese government. The measures that the government has taken are related to relocation and job placement. With the transformation and expansion of cities to accommodate the influx of city dwellers, neighboring rural areas are required for the development of infrastructure. Accordingly, land acquisition by the government has resulted in monetary gain by some rural households.

Annual per capita disposable income of rural and urban households in China from 1990 to 2018

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Release date

October 2019



Survey time period

1990 to 2018

Supplementary notes

Note: 1 yuan is approximately equal to 0.13 euros and 0.14 U.S. dollars (as of November 2019).

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