China’s income inequality is among the worst in the world, according to a new study by Peking University.
According to the report, China’s richest 1 percent owns about one third of the country’s wealth, while the poorest 25 percent own 1 percent of the country’s wealth.
The data is part of the university’s Institute of Social Science Survey. It was gathered by analyzing 15,000 households in 25 different provinces.
“There’s no doubt that the income gap is getting larger and larger,” said sociology professor Zhou Xiaozheng in an interview with Financial Times. “To put it simply, the poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer.”
The Gini Coefficient for China in 2012 was .49, according to the report.
Economists widely use the Gini Coefficient to measure inequality. According to the World Bank, a coefficient of .40 means severe income inequality.
Still, the data may be incomplete due to rampant corruption and unreported income in the country.
A Southwest University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu study put the coefficient at .61 for China in 2010.
A Hurun study released Thursday reports that the number of dollar millionaires in China rose 8 percent during the past year to 3.14 million. The same report states the country is home to 596 dollar billionaires, more than the US.
These revelations could result in wider calls for progressive taxation and social welfare spending.
In the past, the ruling Communist Party has pledged to tackle inequality.
In 2014, Xi Jinping wrote the following in the state-run People’s Daily: “We want to continuously enlarge the pie, while also making sure we divide the pie correctly. Chinese society has long held the value of ‘Don’t worry about the amount, worry that all have the same amount.’”