Introduction to China

China is the world's third largest country. One in every six people in the world (1.35 billion) live in China, making it the most populated country on Earth.

UK/China Population 64m/1.35b Life expectancy 81.5/75.2 Infant death rate (per 1000) 4/9 Literacy 99.9%/96.4% Average income $45,603/$7,503 Unemployment 5.4%/4.1%

China produces huge amounts of gas, coal, oil and much of the world's manufactured goods such as toys and electronic equipment.

China has nuclear weapons and a powerful army. The capital city of China is Beijing.

Changing China

China is a country which is changing fast. Sixty years ago most Chinese people lived in the country following a farming way of life that had not changed for centuries.

Today, around half of Chinese people live in cities. Millions more are expected to migrate to urban areas in the next 20 years.

The most populated city in China is Shanghai where there are around 20 million people.

How China has changed from a traditional rural landscape to a modern urban landscape with money and technology

Many people left the countryside to find better paid work in new industries in the cities. Around 50% of Chinese people still work in agriculture, the rest work in factories or in the service sector (for the government, in shops, etc).

The average income in the countryside is around £200 per month. In the cities income is around four times higher at £800 per month. A small number of Chinese people are rich or very rich and the number of wealthy people is growing.

Information on the inequality of income and wealth in China