Reasons Behind China’s Enlarging Rural-Urban Divide

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Urbanization brings with it a disparity between rural and urban living standards. Nonetheless, in China this gap has started to become quite severe and has become a cause for concern (Naughton 113). Chinas Gini coefficient is currently at .415, which displays the increasing disparity in the country ("DISTRIBUTION OF FAMILY"). The rural-urban divide begun with the different ways the Chinese government ran the rural and urban areas. The urban areas were fully under control of the central government and since they were seen as the building blocks of the country they received many governmental subsidies. Workers in urban areas received pensions, healthcare, had job security, cheaper consumer goods due to subsidies and often had access to commercial housing. On the other hand people in the rural areas received non of those advantages and due to the hukou system were also unable to move out to urban areas to obtain better paying jobs. The government suppressed farmer’s wages to extract more money from agriculture in order to further invest in the urban areas. Additionally, rural citizens land was held in a much more collective form, which did not allows for individuals to use it as collateral, discouraged investment into the land and allowed for corrupt government officials to benefit monetary from the sale of the land. This legacy of unequal treatment of rural citizens resulted in the beginning of the urban rural divide that has been increasing even more in recent years. Today, the gap is continuing to grow because of the lack of education opportunities in rural areas, and lack of appropriate monetary help with health care and old age security and because of market forces. It is the lower government tiers that are “responsible for muc... ... middle of paper ... ... Divide in China.” Stanford Center for International Development (SCID). Stanford U, n.d. Web. 4 Dec. 2011. . Naughton, Barry. The Chinese Economy. London: MIT P, 2006. Print. “Old-age Security System.” China.org.cn. China.org.cn, n.d. Web. 4 Dec. 2011. . Shen, Ce, and John B Williamson. “China’s New Rural Pension Scheme: Can It Be Improved?” Boston College. The Trustees of Boston Coll., n.d. Web. 4 Dec. 2011. . Yupeng, He. “The Dynamics of Rural Transformation in China: Observed Facts and Emerging Trends.” RIMISP. RIMISP, n.d. Web. 4 Dec. 2011. .

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