chapter  2
25 Pages

Shock-induced poverty in Urban China

ByMeiyan Wang

Under the planned economic system, uniform social security provision was provided to urban workers under the 1951 Labor Insurance Regulations of the People’s Republic of China. According to the regulations, urban workers employed in enterprises were guaranteed full and lifelong employment, a pension, work injury, sickness and maternity benefi ts, and access to housing, child care and education. Those identifi ed as poor in urban China were mainly people who lacked the ability to work and had no other income source or family support. They were covered by the offi cial relief programme in urban areas (Cai et al. 2005). Persistent poverty was almost entirely a rural phenomenon until the beginning of the 1990s. In 1988, the proportion of the population in poverty was 12.7 per cent in rural areas and 2.7 per cent in urban areas; by 1995, the poverty rates in rural and urban China were 12.4 per cent and 4.1 per cent respectively (Khan et al. 2001; Riskin and Li 2001).