Four Decades of Poverty Reduction in China

Over the past 40 years, the number of people in China with incomes below US$1.90 per day has fallen by close to 800 million, accounting for close to three-quarters of global poverty reduction since 1980. At China’s current poverty standards, the number of poor people in China fell by 770 million. By any measure, the speed and scale of China’s poverty reduction is historically unprecedented. In 2019, the Ministry of Finance, the Development Research Center of the State Council, and the World Bank decided to take stock of this achievement. A group of staff from the China Center for International Knowledge on Development (CIKD) and the World Bank was tasked with this assessment. Their work, supported by academic research and numerous background papers, is summarized in this report. The report looks at the key drivers of China’s poverty alleviation, considers the insights of China’s poverty reduction experience for other developing countries, and puts forward suggestions for China’s future policy direction. The main conclusion is that China’s poverty reduction success relied mainly on two pillars.