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Durable Inequality: Who Are China's New Urban Poor?

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on a new aspect of China's rising inequality: the emerging trend and underlying patterns of poverty in Chinese cities. It attempts to answer the question "who are more likely to fall under the poverty line". Results based on household survey data show that China's urban poverty by relative measures has reached an internationally comparable level by the late 1990s, and a set of individual, household, and structural factors combined contributes to the risk of falling under poverty. By examining the prevalence of poverty and especially the characteristics of China's newly poor in the cities, the chapter intends to gain some insights about the capabilities of those falling into the poor category, and about their implications for the durability of inequality. The chapter offers a brief discussion of the concepts of poverty, and a discussion of three different perspectives on the underlying causes of poverty.

Keywords: Chinese cities; durable inequality; urban poverty



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