Poverty in Beijing

In the goal to reduce global poverty, the United Nations implemented Millennium Development Goals. China was included on the list of countries that was in need of these goals because it lacked the proper support for those that were impoverished in the country. China has done remarkably well in achieving these goals. Most of the goals were reached a whole five years before the 2015 deadline. However, there have been some new developments in the country that are leading to more poverty.

A great amount of rural-urban migrants began to move from rural areas to urban areas. This is a result of the implementation of the agricultural responsibility system which, on one hand, greatly improved agricultural efficiency, but, on the other hand, led to a large amount of farmers to not be needed, as they were now redundant. Even though some towns and villages took some of these farmers in in order to give them work, the majority still needed a job.

The increase of construction jobs, factory jobs and various urban services made urban life all that more enticing for the farmers. However, the fast growth of the floating population in Beijing has resulted in growing unemployment and the spread of unstable, temporary and insecure jobs. This is the root of poverty in Beijing.

The jobs available for those floating in between rural and urban life are described as the following:

  • High labor intensity, low income but formal jobs
  • Stable, contracting but temporary jobs
  • Unstable, temporary and insecure jobs
  • Jobs as either employee or employer in own small firms

The lack of quality job opportunity leaves Beijing with a bigger population and no real foundation to support this increase in population, leading to poverty. Those who migrate toward the city to find a job are given jobs that can barely keep them afloat. This is the main cause of poverty in Beijing.

– Erik Nelson

Sources: Beijing Review, Paper
Photo: Flickr