Since the economic reform in the late 1970s, China’s economy has experienced consistently rapid growth, with a drastic change of production pattern and income distribution. The increasing income inequality, which is of importance to social justice and economic potential, has raised concerns in China. Because of rapid urbanization, millions of Chinese are flowing into cities from rural areas, so the income inequality within urban areas has received more research attention in recent years.
Given the unique household registration system (Hukou) in China, the urban population can be divided into urban residents who are born in cities with urban Hukou and rural-urban migrants who are originally from rural areas with rural Hukou. The two subgroups have quite different characteristics and do not enjoy the same level of social benefits. Previous studies have not given enough focus on the migrant subgroup in terms of income inequality.
To better understand income inequality issues in urban China, this study performs a comparative analysis between the two subgroups of urban residents and rural-urban migrants, seeking to answer the following questions:
What are the income inequality levels between subgroups of urban residents and rural-urban migrants...