China to release its own inequality index

China to release its own inequality index

BEIJING - Agence France-Presse
China to release its own inequality index

A vendor selling food serves a customer at a food market in Beijing. REUTERS photo

Beijing will release its own version of a closely watched international inequality index, state media reported yesterday, becoming the first Chinese city to announce such a plan.

The official Xinhua news agency, citing a spokesman for the National Bureau of Statistics Beijing survey branch, said the city would release a Gini coefficient for 2012.

The figure will be published “in a timely manner,” spokesman Xing Zhihong told a press conference yesterday.

China’s growing wealth gap is a major concern for the authorities, who are keen to avoid public discontent.

China on Jan. 18 released a decade’s-worth of Gini coefficients for the country as a whole after keeping the data under wraps since 2000. The Gini coefficient is a commonly used measure of income inequality, with a figure of 0 representing perfect equality and 1 total inequality.

Some academics view 0.40 as a warning line.