Poverty in China Seen from Outer Space

Ingvild Almås, Åshild Auglænd Johnsen and Andreas Kotsadam

Memo 11/2014


Estimates of poverty are highly sensitive to price and income measures across time and space. This paper offers a complementary approach to traditional poverty measurement that ensures comparability: we use nighttime light as a proxy for poverty measurement. We measure the percentage of populated areas in China with no nighttime light, and the percentage of the population living in these areas.Between 1992 and 2005, both measures reveal a steady decrease in poverty in China. From 2005 to 2010, however, we find no evidence of a significant poverty reduction.

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Published June 23, 2014 11:18 AM - Last modified Jan. 24, 2019 11:44 AM