Rural home in Li Jiang village, China
Rural home in Li Jiang village, China

Just under half of Chinese people live in the countryside. For most, life has improved with economic reform.

Today, most rural Chinese have better diets, clothing and housing. More have access to electricity and the number with televisions, fridges and other consumer goods has increased. Life expectancy has risen as death rates have fallen but many people remain in extreme poverty.

In 2014, an estimated 80 million rural Chinese continued to live below the poverty line having an income of less than $1 a day. This could rise to 122 million if compared to the UN poverty line rate of $1.25 per day depending on interpretation. The poor are concentrated in certain provinces, such as Gansu or Sichuan.

In urban areas at least 20 million Chinese people are classed as poor (below poverty line of $1.25 per day).