According to the World Bank, China is home to about 20% of the world’s population and a quarter of its poorest people. However, when you look at all Chinese citizens on a national level, it becomes clear that there are no poverty-stricken people in China because they have been fighting poverty for decades. If we’re talking about poverty in China, we’re only referring to indigenous peoples who live in isolated regions with less access to jobs and education.
The poverty rate in China is about 4 percent, but that number drops significantly when you look at the conditions of all citizens. For example, in 2013, 60 million people—that’s 6% of the population—and almost half of them were elderly people under 65 years old, who lived below the national poverty line. This would be equivalent to about $90 per month.
Other citizens, like the 55 million who make up the migrant worker population, are not counted as poor because they can earn more than that monthly. There is also an increasing number of people living in poverty due to underemployment and low-income jobs; however, their numbers are not significant enough to account for the entire population.
What does it mean by extreme poverty?
The World Bank defines “extreme poverty” as living on less than $1.25 per day which is about 70% of the world’s population lives in extreme poverty while one billion people live below the global poverty line of $2/day. However, if we look at all Chinese citizens, there are no poor people because they have been fighting poverty for decades. China’s central government has been trying to decrease the number of people living in extreme poverty.
From 1981 – 2010, they have decreased the number from 250 million citizens to 35 million citizens who live under that poverty line. To put that into perspective for you, that means that only 8.7% of China’s population is still living in extreme poverty as opposed to 25% of the global population.
How do they do it?
To improve their situation, China has been providing free education for rural children since the 1950s. In 2001, over 9 million children received a government scholarship to afford tuition for the school. The Chinese government has also invested in more schools outside of cities to make sure that children have a chance to get an education. The number of those receiving higher education has been on the rise from 1993 – 1997 by 4%.
In addition, China’s government has been improving labor protections for workers in rural areas who are at a greater risk for poverty. According to a survey conducted in 2001, 79% of this rural population has a job and 58% of them have been receiving higher wages since the 1990s.
Moreover, China’s central government has been providing financing for poor people to make sure that they can achieve their dreams. In fact, from 2000 – 2010, China’s central government increased the number of loans provided to poor individuals by 2.4 billion yuan. Those who are eligible for this financing include those who work in rural areas, the unemployed, and those with disabilities.
The Chinese communist party has a laundry list of strategies they use to combat poverty including providing financing for the poor, increasing labor protections for workers in rural areas, and providing free education.
In addition, China’s central government has been trying to decrease its carbon emissions and pollution to protect public health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, between 1990 – 2005, they decreased the number of days that high levels of air pollutants are in the air by an average of 40%.
China has been working to decrease poverty for decades and there are likely no poor people when you look at the conditions of all their citizens. This means that when we talk about poverty in China, these are indigenous people in isolated regions with less access to jobs and education.
In 2010, the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals were created with a primary goal being to end world poverty by 2015. The UN set out targets of reducing extreme poverty by 50% by 2015. The UN has determined that China is the largest contributor in the world when it comes to decreasing poverty levels across the globe.
They have invested in infrastructure projects, social welfare programs, and increased employment which are all effective ways of combating poverty because they are giving their citizens opportunities that will help them escape from poverty and live better lives.
The World Bank shared that investments in infrastructure projects are one of the most common ways to decrease poverty. China has invested $1.7 trillion in infrastructure plans across Asia which will benefit 1.4 billion people who live there and it is expected to create over 90 million jobs in the construction sector alone. This means that not only do people have access to proper roads, rail systems, and irrigation projects but they also have jobs with these plans.
In addition, China invested $18 billion in African infrastructure projects that will benefit over 460 million people and create 80 million jobs. Although China has been criticized for exploiting natural resources in some of the countries they are investing in, this is another example of their efforts to decrease poverty levels around the world by providing citizens with opportunities.
The ILO also shared that investments in social welfare programs are another effective way to combat poverty because when people have access to health care, education, financial literacy courses, and other services they cannot only protect themselves from being trapped in a cycle of poverty but they’re able to increase their quality of life.
China currently has more than 800,000 social welfare establishments that help provide training courses on financial literacy and job skills, small loans for new businesses, and education opportunities. Other services include free medical care, old-age insurance, employment services, subsidies for certain rural or poor families, and other services that help people escape poverty and live better lives.
The ILO shared that another way to decrease poverty is by increasing employment in countries. China has invested in education which can be seen through the literacy rates of both adults and children, the number of schools being built, the number of teachers being trained, etc. This means they are investing in the future of their citizens by creating opportunities for them to thrive. They are also investing in job training programs that teach rural and indigenous people how to work in companies, factories, etc.
Last but not least is China’s investment in renewable energy sources like solar power which has decreased carbon emissions and greenhouse gases significantly over the years. The UN shared that this is the best way to decrease poverty because when people have access to job opportunities, health care, education, and a clean environment they will be able to create a better life for themselves and their families.
All these examples illustrate how China has been working relentlessly for decades to decrease the rates of poverty in China as well as across the globe. Although it is unclear how many of the 1.3 billion people living in China are currently living in poverty, evidence suggests that they have been successful in ending this issue for their citizens and creating opportunities for them to thrive instead.
Although it is impossible to answer whether or not there is no poverty in China, what we do know is that China is taking the proper steps and making investments in their citizens so they can escape poverty and live better lives.
Undeniable causes of poverty in China
China’s lack of infrastructure is a big cause of poverty in China. This means that there are fewer job opportunities because companies find it harder to transport goods from place to place. In addition, China’s lack of infrastructure is a big reason for its overpopulation because there are fewer job opportunities and high living standards in China. This can be seen through China’s entry into poverty by linking with Africa, Asia, and European countries for trade, economic growth
Also, China is struggling with the wealth gap between the rich and the poor. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. China’s growth is slowing down due to its overpopulation.
In addition, China has been accused of exploiting African countries by taking their natural resources and not helping the people as much as it should.
Some causes of poverty in China include being a member of certain ethnic minorities, having a low level of education, living in rural China rather than urban China, and being illiterate.
Poverty is a global issue and China has been working to decrease the rates of poverty in their country for decades. However, it may be difficult to talk about whether or not there is no poverty in China because what we know is that they have invested heavily in education, job opportunities, health care accessibility, renewable energy sources like solar power which decreases greenhouse gas emissions significantly – all of these investments help create better lives for its citizens. Whether you are an international company looking to expand your market into Asia or Africa or you’re just there at home wondering how to invest more effectively so that children don’t grow up without access to quality education and health care services; take some time today to learn from this example of success!