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Annual per capita disposable income of urban households in China 1990-2019

In 2019, the annual per capita disposable income of urban households in China amounted to approximately 42,359 yuan. Annual per capita income in Chinese urban areas saw a significant rise over the last decades and is still rising at a high pace. During the last nine years, per capita disposable income nearly doubled in China.

Income distribution in China – additional information

As an emerging economy, China faces a large number of development challenges, one of the most pressing issues being income inequality. The growing income gap between rural and urban areas has been stirring social unrest in China and poses a serious threat to the dogma of a “harmonious society” proclaimed by the communist party. In contrast to the disposable income of urban households, that of rural households only amounted to less than 15,000 yuan in 2018. Coinciding with the urban-rural income gap, income disparities between coastal and western regions in China have become apparent. As of 2018, households in Shanghai and Beijing displayed the highest average annual income of about 68,000 yuan both, followed by Zhejiang province with 55,600 yuan. Heilongjiang, a province located in the Northeast of China, had the lowest average annual household income in China with merely 29,200 yuan.

Income inequality in China - the Gini coefficient

The Gini coefficient is the most commonly used measure of income inequality. For China, the official Gini coefficient also indicates the astonishing inequality of income distribution in the country. Although the Gini coefficient has dropped from its high in 2008 at 49.1 points, it still ranged at a score of 46.8 points in 2018 and has been moderately raising since 2015. The United Nations have set an index value of 40 as a warning level for serious inequality in a society.

Annual per capita disposable income of urban households in China from 1990 to 2019

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Release date

February 2020



Survey time period

1990 to 2019

Supplementary notes

Note: 1 yuan equals approximately 0.14 U.S. dollars and 0.13 euros (as of March 2020).

Figures for earlier years have been taken from previous publications.

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