Date of this Version

January 2010


This chapter investigates poverty and social welfare among China’s minority groups. Focusing on the Zhuang, Manchu, Hui, Miao, and Uygur populations, China’s five largest minority groups, as well as other minorities in the aggregate, this chapter will begin by providing an introduction to the classification of ethnic groups in China. We consider the relationship of this classification scheme to the concept of indigenous populations, and develop working definitions of minority status and ethnic group for use in the chapter. We then discuss recent economic trends and introduce some of the main government policies targeted toward ethnic minorities. With this context established, we introduce the data employed in the chapter, namely the 2002 rural sample of the Chinese Household Income Project and recent censuses and surveys.

We then proceed to the main body of the report. We present empirical evidence about demographics and geography and investigate ethnic disparities in poverty rates, income and employment, educational access and attainment, health care, and access to social programs. We close with a summary of main findings and their implications for development activities in minority areas and for further policy research on ethnic stratification.


ethnic minorities, poverty, inequality, education, ethnic stratification



Date Posted: 27 April 2012