In recent years, poverty in China was cut poverty in half making it one of the great success stories.
“China is doing well, but you still see children begging on street corners with horrible diseases,” said university student Ariqua Furse, whose mother emigrated from Hong Kong.
By 2020, China will replace the U.S. as the biggest economy, according to Standard Chartered Bank. Much of the world anticipates China becoming the global superpower, with its increasing overseas investments and influence.
However, it has a ways to go if it wants to match these expectations within five years. China is polarized by its advancing technologies and a large number of people that remain impoverished. Tall glass-and-steel skyscrapers loom over gritty, crumbling slums.
Part of the problem is the lack of education in rural areas, which keep families steeped in poverty.
“Kids in some southern provinces don’t have access to education,” said Ji Da, a native of Chengdu, Sichuan. “We send them clothes.”
Because much of the population is doing well and China functions like a healthy first world country, it’s not easy to determine the full extent of poverty in the country.
10 Facts about Poverty in China:
- China is one of the top five poorest countries in the world.
- One in 10 Chinese is poor.
- At least 82 million people in China live below the poverty line.
- Two hundred thousand Chinese don’t have access to electricity.
- The Chinese yuan is less valuable in areas with a greater gender imbalance.
- Close to 70 million earn an annual income of 2,300 yuan ($376).
- Over 6 million Chinese don’t have access to clean fuel to heat their homes and cook.
- Three-quarters of global poverty reduction between 1990 and 2005 occurred in China.
- About 12.3 million people rose above the poverty line in 2013.
- Since 2013, the percentage of Chinese living below the poverty line has been cut nearly in half.
China has made significant progress in recent years in reducing poverty and is continuing to do so. Beijing hosted the 2015 Social Good Summit to raise awareness for the Sustainable Development Goals, which include eradicating poverty.
During the conference, Tencent, Inc., China’s largest Internet service portal, relayed its efforts to reduce the digital divide between urban and rural areas of China.
Ji reported that the Chinese government is building schools and “government-subsidized housing for the poor.”
If the country can face the facts about poverty in China and stabilize the economy, it will be well on its way to matching, and even surpassing, the U.S. economy in 2020.
– Sarah Prellwitz