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Urban Development

The New Chinese Underclass

Due to the rapid growth of its cities, China's middle class is growing—but so is its urban poor.

 

For the first time in China’s long history, more than half of its population lives in cities and towns. This rapid urbanization has led many to believe that China’s middle class will grow to unprecedented numbers, becoming an enormous consuming class that will drive the global economic engine for years to come.

But according to geographer Kam Wing Chan of the University of Washington, that assessment is over-optimistic. His analysis of Chinese population data shows that many rural workers...


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