According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, the per capita disposable income for rural households in 2019 was 16,021 yuan ($2,440), compared to 42,359 ($6,450) in urban areas.The divide isn’t just between rural and urban centers but even between cities themselves. While large population centers like Beijing and Shanghai, mainly on the east coast, have seen rapid gains in wealth and living standards, many second and third tier cities lag behind.Even if poverty is eliminated in China, there are still people living on very little across huge swathes of the country. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, China’s second-highest ranking official, said at a news conference in May that about 600 million Chinese, or around 40% the population, earn an average of just 1,000 yuan ($150) a month.
Matteo Marchisio, country director for China at the United Nations’ International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), said that in his time working on the ground in impoverished communities he had seen government agencies laying new roads and infrastructure to provide rural villages with electricity and clean water.In 2019 alone, China’s Ministry for Water Resources said that 1 million people were given access to safe drinking water. State-run newspaper China Daily said that since the poverty alleviation program began, 4.2 million kilometers (2.6 million miles) of road had been laid in rural China, opening access for not only tourists but businesses and farmers