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China's 'inequality' index drops slightly in 2013

CHINA’S Gini coefficient, a measure of the income gap between rich and poor on a scale of 0 to 1, dropped slightly last year, the National Bureau of Statistics said this morning.

The figure 0.473 in 2013 compared with 0.474 in 2012, but was still higher than the warning level of 0.4 set by the United Nations.

Bureau Chief Ma Jiantang said the official Gini coefficient in China was "not very low," which had to be properly addressed through better allocation of resources and the acceleration of income distribution reform.

But he refuted the questions over the figure's correctness.

"Some others do produce higher figures concerning China's Gini coefficient, and we are studying their methodologies," Ma said at a news conference. "But on the whole, our figure reflected the reality in China as our calculation involved a large sample and was based on long-term observation."

More than 400,000 households in different income rankings were selected randomly in the bureau's investigation, and their books were kept updated for a long time, Ma said, adding the figure produced by the World Bank was similar to the official one.

"China will beef up efforts on raising the proceeds of low-income families, better regulating the income distribution process and combating illegal practices to achieve a fairer allocation," Ma said.

In 2013, the disposable income of China's urban residents expanded 9.7 percent from a year earlier to 26,955 yuan (US$4,418), while rural households reported their income was 8,896 yuan, up 12.4 percent on an annual basis.


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