Meeting to chart rural development for 2008

Updated: 2007-12-22 16:57

Backgrounder: Rural China in facts, figures

-- China is expected to see a fourth consecutive year of bumper grain harvest. It is the first time the grain output has exceeded 500 billion kilograms.

-- Net income among the rural population rose by more than six percent in each the past three years, a record since 1985.

-- The inflation-adjusted cash income of the rural population rose 14.8 percent in the first three quarters. The figure was 3.4 percentage points higher than that for the same period last year and reached 3,321 yuan ($448.78) per person.

-- In a breakdown, the salaries of rural workers stood at 1,139 yuan per person in the first three quarters, up 20.2 percent year on year. The direct income from selling farm produce reached 1,429 yuan per person among the whole population, up 19.8 percent. The income from household businesses in the secondary and tertiary sectors rose 11.7 percent to 458 yuan per person.

-- China has annually devoted its first work document to rural development four times since 2004 to draw up a variety of preferential policies to support the rural sector. This move indicated that rural development was the top concern of the government.

-- The abolition of the 2,600-year-old agricultural tax, as well as other miscellaneous taxes imposed on farmers, helped China's rural population save about 120 billion yuan annually. In addition, the central government poured 431.8 billion yuan into the rural sector in 2007 to improve infrastructure.

-- The Engel coefficient -- the share of income spent on food -- for Chinese rural residents dropped from 46.25 percent in 2002 to 43.02 percent in 2006. This demonstrated a stronger purchasing power for non-food items among rural people.

-- The daily expenditure of rural people expanded from 1,834 yuan in 2002 to 2,829 yuan in 2006. An increasingly bigger proportion of income was spent on medical care, transport, telecom, education and entertainment.

-- Nearly 150 million rural high school and primary school students were exempted from tuition and miscellaneous fees this year following a government subsidy of 18.1 billion yuan.

-- China earmarked 2.7 billion yuan to improve medicare services in rural areas this year. In addition, more than 85 percent of Chinese counties were covered by such cooperative services.

-- Over the next three years, the Ministry of Finance will allocate 47 billion yuan annually to finance compulsory education in rural regions.

-- China arranged 1.1 billion yuan for employment and technological training for rural people this year.

-- There were a total of 200 million migrant workers across the country, among whom about 120 million traveled to other cities to seek employment.

-- China's rural population shrank to 737 million, about 56 percent of the total 1.3 billion population at the end of 2006. This was down from 64 percent in 2001 as the country's urbanization gathered momentum.

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