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China says rural poor down 19 percent

Feb. 27, 2013 at 12:30 AM

BEIJING, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Rural China's poorest -- those making less the $370 a year -- fell 19 percent from 2011 to 2012, thanks to higher government spending, government officials say.

The Chinese Cabinet said Tuesday that despite the sharp year-to-year decline from 122.38 million to 98.99 million the work to alleviate poverty among rural Chinese remains arduous, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The poverty alleviation office said the so-called impoverished rural population accounted for 10.2 percent of China's total rural population in 2012, down from 12.45 percent in 2011.

The office said the Chinese government had provided $47.7 billion for poverty alleviation last year, a jump of 31.9 percent from 2011.

The office classifies as rural poor anyone earning 2,300 yuan -- about $369 -- or less per year.

The report said the current poverty line of about $1 a day, however, is lower than the World Bank poverty line of $1.25 a day. China is also facing a widening income gap between the rich and the poor.

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