Are poverty rates underestimated in China? New evidence from four recent surveys

Chunni Zhang, Qi Xu, Xiang Zhou, Xiaobo Zhang, Yu Xie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Knowledge of poverty prevalence is essential for any society concerned with improving public welfare and reducing poverty. In this paper, we estimate and compare poverty incidence rates in China using four nationally representative surveys: the China Family Panel Studies (CFPS) of 2010, the Chinese General Social Survey (CGSS) of 2010, the China Household Finance Survey (CHFS) of 2011, and the Chinese Household Income Project (CHIP) of 2007. Using both international and official domestic poverty standards, we show that poverty rates at the national, rural, and urban levels based on the CFPS, CGSS, and the CHFS are all much higher than the official estimates and those based on the CHIP. This study highlights the importance of using independent datasets to verify official statistics of public and policy concern in contemporary China.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)410-425
Number of pages16
JournalChina Economic Review
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


  • China Family Panel Studies
  • China Household Finance Survey
  • Chinese General Social Survey
  • Chinese Household Income Project
  • Poverty prevalence


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