Leading provinces, cities show steady rise in per capita disposable income
Published: Jan 29, 2023 07:50 PM Updated: Jan 29, 2023 11:03 PM
People shop at a shopping mall in Changchun, northeast China's Jilin Province, Jan. 23, 2023. (Xinhua/Xu Chang)

People shop at a shopping mall in Changchun, northeast China's Jilin Province, Jan. 23, 2023. (Xinhua/Xu Chang)

The per capita disposable income of China's first-tier cities such as Beijing and Shanghai inched closer to 80,000 yuan ($11,795) in 2022, and six other leading provinces surpassed the national average of 36,883 yuan, according to Global Times calculations based on statistics released by the provinces.

The data sends positive signals that rising incomes will spur consumption and support the economic growth this year. 

The per capita disposable income of Shanghai stood at 79,610 yuan and that of Beijing at 77,415 yuan, leading the ranking. East China's Zhejiang Province reached 60,302 yuan, the first time it exceeded 60,000 yuan. 

East China's Jiangsu and Fujian, as well as North China's Tianjin and South China's Guangdong, also had per capita disposable income above 40,000 yuan. That of East China's Shandong was 37,560 yuan, slightly above the national average. 

Nationwide, per capita disposable income grew 2.9 percent year-on-year to 36,883 yuan, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in mid-January. The expansion is in line with 3 percent growth in per capita GDP.

Chinese observers said that the steady gains reflect stable employment and signal a further release this year of consumption power, which was largely subdued in 2022.

"When a nation's per capita disposable income grows as fast as or faster than per capita GDP, it speaks volumes for a potential expansion in domestic consumption," a Chinese observer surnamed Cong told the Global Times on Sunday. 

The rosy performance of the powerhouse provinces showed that China's economic fundamentals were not dented by pandemic flare-ups last year, but instead maintained its resilience, he said. 

Zhou Maohua, an economist at Everbright Bank, said in a statement sent to the Global Times that retail sales are likely to grow 10 percent in 2023, equivalent to an increase of 4.8 trillion yuan from last year.

China's per capita disposable income stands in the middle range in the world, as the nation is still the world's largest developing country. In terms of GDP per capita, China is nearing the status of a "high-income country" as defined by the World Bank, according to the NBS.

Per capita real disposable personal income in the US was around $45,000 last year, according to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis.  

There were other highlights in the new data. 

The gap between rural and urban residents' incomes continued to narrow. The urban-rural income ratio was reduced to 2.45 in 2022 from 2.5 in 2021. 

In 2022, the per capita disposable income of urban residents expanded 1.9 percent, while that of rural residents jumped 4.2 percent.