Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2018, Vol. 73 ›› Issue (8): 1478-1493.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201808007

• Urban and Regional Development • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Comprehensive measurement of county poverty and anti-poverty targeting after 2020 in China

ZHOU Yang1,2(),GUO Yuanzhi1,2,3,LIU Yansui1,2,3   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. Center for Assessment and Research on Targeted Poverty Alleviation, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2017-10-31 Online:2018-08-15 Published:2018-07-31
  • Supported by:
    National Social Science Foundation of China, No.15ZDA 021;National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41601172, No.41471143, No.41371186;China Postdoctoral Science Foundation, No.2016M591105


Poverty has long been the focus of all countries in the world. To achieve the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects, Chinese government clearly points out that all rural residents living below the current poverty line should be lifted out of poverty, and poverty should be eliminated in all poverty-stricken counties and regions by 2020. But due to the limitation of development capacity, the improvement of the new poverty standard and living standard, there will still be quite a large number of people in poverty in future and it will exist for a long time. Thus, it is of great significance to study the pattern of rural poverty and the poverty stress at county level in China and investigate anti-poverty targeting after 2020. To this end, we first analyze the mechanism of rural poverty from the perspective of man-land areal system and construct an indicator system of county development index (CDI) to characterize county poverty stress. Then the BP neural network model is applied to measure the poverty stress and identify the county that still need policy-support (CNPS) after 2020 when the goal of eliminating poverty is achieved. Results show that poverty is a manifestation of the imbalance between human system and land system, which can be measured by three aspects, i.e., human development capability, natural resource endowment and socio-economic development. The deficiency of natural resource endowments is one of the main causes of poverty, while socio-economic development and improvement of agricultural production conditions make contribution to poverty alleviation in rural areas. Human development capability, socio-economic level, natural resource endowment and comprehensive development at county level in China show a gradient decrement from the southeast coast to the northwest inland, which can be divided into three agglomerated areas by the three ladders of the terrain. More concretely, high-cold regions of Tibetan Plateau and its periphery, as well as arid areas in the west of South Xinjiang are the low-value areas of CDI. The eastern coastal areas, Sichuan Basin and the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, where the natural condition is good and the level of economic development is high, are the middle-high-/high-value areas of CDI. At last, the standard deviation of CDI is applied to measure poverty stress at county level. Results show that 716 counties need to be further focused by national anti-poverty policies after 2020, most of which are distributed in the high-cold region of Tibetan Plateau, the transition zone of the three ladders and the Karst region in Southwest China. These counties can be roughly divided into four types, i.e., key aiding counties restricted by multidimensional factors (Type Ⅰ), general aiding counties restricted by human development capability (Type Ⅱ), general aiding counties restricted by both natural resource endowment and socio-economic development (Type Ⅲ), and tgeneral aiding counties restricted by both human development capability and socio-economic development (Type Ⅳ). Understanding poverty patterns and its dynamic mechanisms as well as the ways to poverty reduction in the new period can enrich the study of poverty geography.

Key words: poverty, man-land areal system, multidimensional poverty, geographical pattern, poverty alleviation targeting, poverty geography, China