China’s Income-Inequality Gap Widens Beyond U.S. Levels – Businessweek

The gap between China’s rich and poor is now one of the world’s highest, surpassing even that in the U.S., according to a report being released this week by researchers at the University of Michigan.

The metric used in these studies, the Gini coefficient, would be zero in a society in which all income is equally distributed, while a score of one would reflect a society in which all income is concentrated in the hands of a single individual. Over a three-decade period starting in 1980—shortly after China’s economic reform and opening commenced—the Gini coefficient has grown from 0.3 to 0.55 in 2010.

In the U.S., by contrast, the index reads 0.45. Anything over 0.50 is considered “severe disparity,” says the report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The authors used data from seven separate surveys conducted by a number of Chinese university-affiliated organizations, including Peking University’s Institute of Social Sciences.

via China’s Income-Inequality Gap Widens Beyond U.S. Levels – Businessweek.

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