Annual per capita income of households in China 1990-2018

The graph shows the per capita annual income of urban households in China until 2018. In 2018, annual income of urban households amounted to 39,250.8 yuan.

Income distribution in China – additional information

Annual per capita income in Chinese urban areas saw a significant rise over the last two decades. Between 1995 and 2018, the annual income of urban households in China had grown from 4,279 to 36,251 yuan.

As an emerging economy, China faces a large number of development challenges, one of the most pressing issues being income inequality. The growing income gap between rural and urban areas has been stirring social unrest in China and poses a serious threat to the dogma of a “harmonious society” proclaimed by the communist party. As of 2018, annual per capita disposable income of urban households had amounted to approximately 39,000 yuan, whereas rural households had an income of less than 15,000 yuan.

Coinciding with the urban-rural income gap, income disparities between coastal and western regions in China have become apparent. As of 2017, households in Shanghai had displayed the highest average annual income of about 63,000 yuan, followed by Beijing with 62,000 yuan and Zhejiang province with 51,000 yuan. Heilongjiang, a province located in the Northeast of China, had the lowest average annual household income in China with merely 27,000 yuan.

China’s official Gini coefficient, the most commonly used measure of income inequality, indicates also the astonishing inequality of income distribution in China. In 2017, China had reached a score of about 46.7 points. The United Nations have set an index value of 40 as a warning level for serious inequality in a society.

Annual per capita income of urban households in China from 1990 to 2018

Per capita income in yuan
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Release date

October 2019



Survey time period

1990 to 2018

Supplementary notes

Note: 1 yuan equals approximately 0.13 euros and 0.14 U.S. dollars (as of November 2019).

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