Essay on Reasons Behind China’s Enlarging Rural-Urban Divide

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Urbanization brings with it a disparity between rural and urban living standards. Nonetheless, in China this gap has started to become quite severe and has become a cause for concern (Naughton 113). Chinas Gini coefficient is currently at .415, which displays the increasing disparity in the country ("DISTRIBUTION OF FAMILY"). The rural-urban divide begun with the different ways the Chinese government ran the rural and urban areas. The urban areas were fully under control of the central government and since they were seen as the building blocks of the country they received many governmental subsidies. Workers in urban areas received pensions, healthcare, had job security, cheaper consumer goods due to subsidies and often had access to…show more content…
This is especially true for the poorer regions that cannot afford to greatly subsidize the education system. This is a problem for the already poorer rural residents and causes many families to not be able to afford to pay for more than the mandatory 9 years of schooling. Though some areas have stopped requiring their students to pay tuition China lacks an adequate amount of schools and parents still have to bear transportation costs (Hussain). This leads to a repetitive cycle of poverty in which rural children cannot obtain the adequate education that could lead them to obtain a higher paying job and leave the poverty cycle.
Another issue that contributes to the rural-urban divide is the extremely high cost of health care. In 2006, 39% of the rural population could not afford “professional medical treatment” ("Healthcare in China"). Even though the government has introduced various systems to try to overcome this lack of access to medical care, such as the Rural Cooperative Medical Scheme and has increased expenditure on health care, the results of this have not been equally spread. Many rural residents are still uninsured and have large out of pocket health care expenses. In addition, “80 percent of health expenditures are allocated to urban areas even though 70 percent of the population resides in rural areas” ("Healthcare in China"). This is an example of Chinas
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