China Lifts 85 Million People from Extreme Poverty in 6 Years

By Matthew Bossons, December 14, 2018

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China’s goal of eradicating extreme poverty within the country is coming closer to being realized. According to China Daily, China’s anti-poverty chief, Liu Yongfu, announced yesterday that the number of Chinese people living in extreme poverty will sit at 15 million people by the end of 2018 – an impressive 85 percent drop from six years ago, when the number of extremely impoverished people in the PRC sat at 100 million. 

Liu also said that the PRC will see extreme poverty eliminated nationwide by the conclusion of 2020, adding that the country’s massive success in poverty reduction has happened in conjunction with China’s rapid economic ascent since the launch of the Reform and Opening-Up policy 40 years ago. 

Since market reforms were introduced in 1978, China has initiated the largest poverty reduction campaign in human history – lifting more than 800 million people (more than double the population of the United States) out of poverty, according to the World Bank. The World Bank also notes that China has experienced the most rapid “sustained expansion by a major economy” ever. 

Of course, other estimates do exist. 

According to a paper released earlier this year by Dr. Tan Weiping for the International Poverty Reduction Center in China, the PRC lifted 850 million people above the global poverty line (USD1.90 per day) between 1981 and 2013. 


Poverty reduction in China based on the USD1.90 poverty line. Graph via International Poverty Reduction Center in China h/t

Other interesting statistics offered by Anti-Poverty Chief Liu, who was speaking at a press briefing arranged by the State Council Information Office, include: 1) that more than 700 million people in the farming sector were lifted from abject poverty in the last four decades, and 2) that the rural poverty rate is expected to dip below 2 percent in 2018, down from 97.5 percent in 1978. 

“The number will return to zero,” said Liu, according to China Daily, before also noting that extreme poverty will be eradicated for the first time in the history of the nation.

While these numbers, regardless of variation, are undoubtedly impressive, Liu stated at the media conference that ‘relative poverty’ will continue to exist and that the central government will be exploring ways to continue lifting citizens’ incomes. 

READ MORE: China's Rapidly Shrinking Poverty Rate, in One GIF

[Cover image via Pixabay]

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