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Figures Show China's Farmers Lead a Better-off Life
The latest statistics from the State Statistic Bureau indicate that along with the sustainable growth of farmers' income, the living standard of the farmers as a whole in the Chinese countryside has witnessed a transition from a meager existence to warmly clad-and-enough-to-eat and now further to a better-off life.

According to the statistics, the year of 2001 saw the per-capita net income of the farmers in Chinese countryside reach RMB 2,366.4 yuan, an increase of 2.9 times that of 1989, a yearly increase of 4.3 percent on reduction of the price factor. The ceaseless growth of farmers' income has laid a sound foundation for the improvement of life in the countryside. The average living expense for a Chinese farmer was raised to RMB 1,741.1 yuan in 2001 from RMB 535.4 yuan, an increase of 2.3 times that of 1989, a yearly increase of 4.1 percent on reduction of the price factor.

Alongside the transition from the warmly clad-and-enough-to-eat to a better-off life of the Chinese population in the countryside the consumption structure of the inhabitants is seeing a continuous escalation. According to statistics, the expenses of farmers on foodstuff, clothing, housing and household equipment in 2001 was more than a double that of 1989 while it saw a faster increase in farmers' expenses on medicare, transportation and communication, education and recreation, a respective increase of 4.9, 11.9 and 5.3 times that of 1989.

In the meantime, the Engel index, i.e. the ratio of food as against the life expense saw a reduction of 54.8 percent from 1989 to 47.7 percent in 2001, an important indication to show that the farmers' life went from that of warm-and- enough-to-eat to a better-off life.

Changes have taken place also in food consumption in the countryside with the consuming amount on meat, egg, milk and fish and fruit on the increase, the diet structure tending to a nutritious and scientific way.

According to statistics, in the daily calorie absorption of a farmer, that from the grain came to as high as 82.6 percent in 1989, but it showed a lowering of 13.5 percentage points in 2001 yet the absorption of fat and protein is greatly increased with the main nutrients coming to a sufficiency on the whole. The housing quality and conditions were greatly improved.

From the end of 1989 to 2001, the average living space of a family in the countryside saw an increase of 17.21 to 25.73 square meters, an increase of 48.4 percent.

The owning amount of durable goods, such as TV sets, refrigerators and motorcycles witnessed a doubled increase by the yearend. 2001 saw the possession of TV sets and refrigerators in every hundred farmers' households come to 14 times that of 1989 and motorcycles to an even greater 25 times. And we've also seen the entry of fixed and mobile phones, air-conditioners and computers into the farmers' households too during recent years.

(People's Daily October 22, 2002)

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