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China's Income-Inequality Gap Widens Beyond U.S. Levels

The gap between China’s rich and poor is now one of the world’s highest, surpassing even that in the U.S., according to a report being released this week by researchers at the University of Michigan.

The metric used in these studies, the Gini coefficient, would be zero in a society in which all income is equally distributed, while a score of one would reflect a society in which all income is concentrated in the hands of a single individual. Over a three-decade period starting in 1980—shortly after China’s economic reform and opening commenced—the Gini coefficient has grown from 0.3 to 0.55 in 2010.