WASHINGTON, March 28 (UPI) -- Six percent of the poorest one-fifth of the Chinese population said they could not afford enough food in 2001, down from 23 percent in 2008, a survey found.
The Gallup Poll results were based on telephone and face-to-face interviews with approximately 4,000 adults in China age 15 and older, conducted each year from 2007 to 2011.
The survey found China's poorest residents disproportionately live in the country's rural areas.
Official statistics indicate the average income among rural residents is less than one-third that of city-dwellers -- a ratio some economists called understated, Gallup officials said.
However, in 2011, 7 percent said they had trouble paying for food, down from 20 percent in 2008, the survey said. Also in 2011, 14 percent of the poorest Chinese said they did not have enough money to buy adequate shelter for themselves and their families, down from 28 percent who said so in 2008.
At the same time, 14 percent of the richest Chinese had trouble affording shelter in 2011, up from 6 percent in 2009 -- most likely due in part to fast-rising property values in the country's largest cities, Gallup officials said.
The ability of low-income and rural Chinese to afford food and shelter is likely tied to recovery from the global economic crisis, but poverty-reduction programs including a rural subsistence allowance and subsidies to offset rising food prices for poor families have been common in recent years, Gallup said.
The survey has a margin of error of 2.1 percentage points.
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