PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2016, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (2): 195-203.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2016.02.006

• Articles | Region and Urban • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatial differentiation of urban poverty of Chinese cities

Yuan YUAN1(), Yeheng GU1, Zhihao CHEN2   

  1. 1. School of Geography and Planning, Urbanization Institute, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangdong Key Laboratory for Urbanization and Geo-simulation, Guangzhou 510275, China
    2. Bureau of Land Resource and Urban Planning of Baiyun District of Guangzhou, Guangzhou 510405, China
  • Received:2014-11-01 Accepted:2015-05-01 Online:2016-02-10 Published:2016-02-10
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41071106;Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, No.15lgjc38


Under the background of socioeconomic transition and urbanization in China, regional disparity of urban poverty attracts increasingly more attention of Chinese scholars. Based on poverty data from 352 cities (including prefecture-level cities, prefecture-level districts, autonomous prefectures and leagues) from 2007-2011, this study examines the spatial evolution and distribution of urban poverty, as well as the differences between poverty and economic underdevelopment in China. During the five years between 2007 and 2011, the total number and ratio of urban poor have slightly increased. At the regional level, urban population in poverty and areas where poverty situation has aggravated increased sharply in the western region. Most cities in the eastern area have improved in poverty concentration, while the majority of cities in the western area have deteriorated over this period. At the city level, small cities, resource-based cities, and minority population concentrated cities have also deteriorated. In 2011, poverty ratio showed an increasing trend from east to west. Small and medium-size cities, resource-based cities, and minority population concentrated cities had higher poverty ratio. In resource-based cities in the northeast, there were high poverty ratios but the per capita GDP was high, and the areas were characterized by an "invisible urban poverty". In minority population concentrated cities in the southwest, there were low poverty ratios with low per capita GDP, and the areas were characterized by a "low poverty rate urban poverty". In the future, anti-poverty policymaking should take into consideration location, development condition, and demographic characters of cities. Anti-poverty policies should focus on small and medium-size cities, resource-based cities, and minority population concentrated cities in areas where the urban poverty situation is aggravating and balance the relationship between urban poverty reduction and economic development.

Key words: urban poverty, spatial differentiation, spatial distribution and evolution, invisible urban poverty, low poverty rate urban poverty, China