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Income gap grows wider in Beijing
By Liu Chang (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-02-22 01:41

The income gap among urban residents in Beijing is widening, according to figures released by the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Statistics.

The average income of the richest 20 per cent of its residents is four times that of the poorest 20 per cent, according to figures for last year.

Customers look at a car at sales in a Beijing market on February 21, 2005. [newsphoto]
That ratio was 3.4:1 for 2003, sources said.

Different educational levels were the most influential factors contributing to the widening income gap, according to sources with the statistics bureau.

Average per capita income for the richest group was 29,600 yuan (US$3,600) last year.

But the figure for the poorest 20 per cent was only 7,400 (US$890) yuan.

A survey conducted by the local statistics bureau among 2,000 urban families in Beijing showed that the overall average per capita income of Beijing's residents was 15,600 yuan (US$1,900) last year, 12.6 per cent higher than in 2003.

"Low-income families earned more last year than 2003, but the increase rate was lower than for families with higher incomes," the bureau said, without giving further figures.

Statistics showed that those with better education tend to earn more.

Among differently educated people, the group enjoying the highest incomes in the capital city in 2004 were master's and doctorate degree holders.

Their average annual income was 23,600 yuan (US$2,900) per person, according to figures released by the bureau.

In contrast, the incomes of the uneducated was the lowest.

Their average annual income per capita was 9,050 yuan (US$1,100), only 38 per cent of that for those with master's and doctorate degrees.

Meanwhile, survey results showed that the gap between the two groups has been widening annually.

In 2003, the average income for people with master's and doctorate degrees was 2.1 times that of uneducated workers.

But that figure was up to 2.6 last year.

Statistics also indicate that people with different jobs end up with different pay.

Professionals, government employees and management staff occupied the top three groups in Beijing last year, according to statistics.

Their per capita average annual income was 18,500 yuan (US$2,230), 18,400 yuan (US$2,220) and 16,800 yuan (US$2,000) respectively.

In contrast, incomes of workers engaged in production and transportation, the service sector and commerce were all below the city's average income level.

For example, the average income of production and transportation workers was 12,300 yuan (US$1,500), 66 per cent that of professionals.

(China Daily 02/22/2005 page3)

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