Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2001, Vol. 56 ›› Issue (2): 136-145.doi: 10.11821/xb200102002

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County Level Economic Disparities of China in the 1990s

LI Xiao jian, QIAO Jia jun   

  1. College of Environment and Planning, Henan University, Kaifeng 475001, China
  • Received:2000-10-28 Revised:2000-12-18 Online:2001-03-15 Published:2001-03-15
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Fundation of China,No.49971024;Social Science Programm of Education Ministry of China;Overseas Returned Scholar Programm of Personnel Ministry of China

Abstract: This paper analyses regional economic disparities in China using nationwide county level data. Firstly, in contrast to the enlarging trend indicated by provincial level studies, economic disparities between counties were narrowed in the 1990s. This finding does not apply in the comparison between coastal and inland areas. The disparities between the two parts were continuously widened. Secondly, the counties with faster growth rates than the national average were spread from several growth centers to outside. Consequently, three growth corridors gradually appeared, namely, the Coastal Corridor (along the nation’s coastal line), Beijing-Guangzhou Corridor (along the railway from Beijing to Guangzhou), and the Changjiang River Corridor (along the Changjiang River from Chengdu to Shanghai). Thirdly, regional disparities exist within each corridor. There were numbers of relatively underdeveloped counties in the Coastal Corridor. Similarly, relatively developed counties were found in Western China. Fourthly, general speaking, the less developed counties were mainly located in the western part of China. The distribution pattern of less developed counties is consistent with the disadvantageous development conditions in mountainous, cold and dry areas, as well as with the isolation in the provincial border regions. Finally, this paper classifies counties into four categories by using their development status in 1990 and their growth rates from 1990 to 1998.

Key words: regional economic disparities, county level study, growth corridor, coastal development, development in the underdeveloped area, China

CLC Number: 

  • F127