Liv­ing stan­dard in­dex pro­vides a new tool to as­sist re­lief ef­forts

China Daily (USA) - - TOP NEWS - By ZHANG ZHIHAO zhangzhi­hao@chi­

Data from un­con­ven­tional sources, such as fig­ures on liv­ing stan­dards, pro­vide a new way to eval­u­ate poverty across China, ac­cord­ing to a re­port on Mon­day by the United Na­tions De­vel­op­ment Pro­gram China.

The re­port’s re­lease marked the In­ter­na­tional Day for Erad­i­ca­tion of Poverty and China’s thirdNa­tional Poverty Day.

The Liv­ing Stan­dard In­dex, de­vel­oped by UNDP us­ing data from Baidu, mea­sured poverty by com­bin­ing eight indicators to eval­u­ate ser­vices pro­vided in 2,284 coun­ties in China. The eval­u­a­tion looked at ac­cess to piped wa­ter, san­i­tary toi­lets, in­door kitchens, liv­ing ser­vices, fi­nan­cial ser­vices and roads, as well as mo­bile in­ter­net cov­er­age and night­time light in­ten­sity.

“The def­i­ni­tion and mea­sure­ment of poverty must re­flect its com­plex, mul­ti­fac­eted na­ture beyond only in­come- and con­sump­tion­based mea­sures,” said Pa­trick Haver­man, deputy coun­try di­rec­tor of the UNDP.

The new in­dex com­ple­ments the poverty mark­ers al­ready in use, pro­vid­ing insights into the avail­abil­ity of these public ser­vices and al­low­ing for more ef­fi­cient and tar­geted poverty re­lief ef­forts, the re­port said.

It also said the se­lected indicators cover im­por­tant mea­sure­ments of so­cial well­be­ing and pro­vide ac­ces­si­ble, dy­namic and cost­ef­fi­cient data for anal­y­sis.

On a scale of 0 to 100, the in­dex ranks Zhe­jiang prov­ince first, with a score of 75.1, and Jiangsu prov­ince sec­ond, with 73.7, fol­lowed by Bei­jing, with 71.8, and Shang­hai, 71.7. The coun­try av­er­age was 61.3.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, although the most eco­nom­i­cally de­vel­oped prov­inces per­formed best for liv­ing stan­dards, this did not mean they have eq­ui­table de­vel­op­ment across the dif­fer­ent as­pects of eval­u­at­ing liv­ing stan­dards.

Ningxia, which ranked 11th, was the only au­ton­o­mous re­gion to ex­ceed the coun­try av­er­age, while Chongqing was the only mu­nic­i­pal­ity to fall be­low the av­er­age, due to a sub­par mo­bile cov­er­age rate and night­time light in­ten­sity.

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