Poverty in Guangzhou
Guangzhou, Guangdong province’s capital and the third largest city in China, is known as the factory of the world. Skyscrapers and trade fairs bring beauty to the city as Guangzhou edges out competitive cities and sets itself up to become China’s technology leader by 2020.

Guangzhou wasn’t always this successful; in fact, it was once a rural area of China where poverty hit hard. As a matter of fact, all of China was once recognized as one of the poorest countries in the world to live in, and the city of Guangzhou wasn’t exempt to this status. To understand the evolution of poverty in Guangzhou, one should examine poverty in China as a whole. Let’s discuss the top 10 facts about poverty in Guangzhou.

Top 10 Facts about Poverty in Guangzhou

  1. The majority of the empty-nest senior citizens live in poverty in Guangzhou. Seventy percent of them are females between the ages of 50 and 60 as well as over the age 70.
  2. Homelessness is a byproduct of poverty; 2.41 million people are homeless in Guangzhou, with a majority of them being male.
  3. There are an estimated 138 “urban villages” (slums) in Guangzhou where a large majority of the poor reside. Most of the residents are migrants, farmers who’ve lost their land and other impoverished groups. Guangzhou has garnered the nickname ‘Slum City’ due to these populations.
  4. There are currently one million children fending for themselves in China. According to a study done by the Guangzhou Children Protection Center, 48 percent of the children living alone on the streets are children running away from poverty-related family problems and abuse.
  5. Poverty plays a large part in the education gap between rural and urban children. In fact, 60 percent of students in rural China fail to continue their education past high school. Guangzhou made attempts at education reform, but the impact has not been sustainable for kids in rural areas. There are still more than 60 million children left behind in rural schools.
  6. In 2016, parasitic diseases of poverty hit mainland China, with a high rate of infections occurring in expectant mothers and children. Cancer patients and individuals who possessed compromised immune systems were infected by water-borne diseases like toxoplasmosis and giardiasis. In Guangzhou, people are encouraged to drink bottled water to protect themselves from health risks such as these.
  7. Of the 1.37 billion people living in China, 56 million are people living in poverty in rural areas; 2.8 million people live in rural areas of Guangzhou.
  8. Guangzhou called for a limit to its population growth by 2020 as overpopulation is one of the leading causes of poverty in rural areas. In the late 1980s, China instituted the one-child policy to regulate population growth in the country with hopes of stabilizing the economy. Due to this legislation, 400 million births were claimed to have been averted.
  9. Since the 1980s, 800 million people have risen from poverty in China. This decrease in impoverished individuals is due to the country investing in its economy by training its people for skill and knowledge-based sectors. Despite its growing population, Guangzhou currently has one of the fastest growing economies with labor demands supplying jobs to impoverished people in rural areas as well as migrants.
  10. The extreme poverty rate in China is set to fall below one percent by the close of 2018 through sustainable development efforts. Guangzhou is on track to do its part, as it is considered a unique economic development area in China, specializing in transportation, industrialism and trade.

Steps Towards Poverty Alleviation

China as a whole has made significant strides in ending poverty. Once one of the poorest countries on the globe, with more than 500 million people living in poverty, China has found ways to eradicate this debilitating occurrence.

With Guangzhou as the epicenter of trade and economic development, China is now on track to meet its target—less than one percent living in impoverishment. A decrease in poverty in Guangzhou should follow suit, but only will time will tell.

– Naomi C. Kellogg
Photo: Flickr