In February 2021 China achieved the eradication of extreme poverty. 850 million people had climbed out of absolute poverty. Per capita income has increased ten-fold in the last twenty years and life expectancy has increased to 77.3 years compared to 35 years in 1949.
The following article by John Ross evaluates China’s contribution to the reduction of human poverty. It previously appeared at Socialist Economic Bulletin.
In 2010 Professor Danny Quah, of the London School of Economics, noted: ‘In the last 3 decades, China alone has lifted more people out of extreme poverty than the rest of the world combined. Indeed, China’s ($1/day) poverty reduction of 627 million from 1981 to 2005 exceeds the total global economy’s decline in its extremely poor from 1.9 billion to 1.4 billion over the same period.’ The aim of this article is to analyse the situation taking data published three years after Quah’s analysis; look at the trends not only of extreme poverty, which the World Bank calculates using expenditure of $1.25 a day or less; examine a slightly wider poverty definition ($2 a day expenditure), and compare the trends in other regions of the world economy.