Handbook on Ethnic Minorities in China
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Handbook on Ethnic Minorities in China

Edited by Xiaowei Zang

This much-needed volume explains who ethnic minorities are and how well do they do in China. In addition to offering general information about ethnic minority groups in China, it discusses some important issues around ethnicity, including ethnic inequality, minority rights, and multiculturalism. Drawing on insights and perspectives from scholars in different continents the contributions provide critical reflections on where the field has been and where it is going, offering readers possible directions for future research on minority ethnicity in China. The Handbook reviews research and addresses key conceptual, theoretical and methodological issues in the study of ethnicity in China.
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Chapter 15: Ethnic disparities in economic well-being in China

Björn Gustafsson


In chapter 15, Björn Gustafsson surveys research that addresses the existence and magnitude of disparities in economic wellbeing in China between ethnic minorities and the majority Han group, and attempts to throw light on the reasons for the gaps. According to Gustafsson, in rural China, income differs greatly between locations, and most of China’s rural minorities live in places with low average income. In addition, in some but not all rural locations, ethnic minority households receive lower incomes than Han majority households. Ethnic minorities make up a considerably smaller proportion of the population in urban than in rural areas. Policies of affirmative action have given urban ethnic minority workers priority for employment in jobs funded by public resources. However, post-1978 market reforms have resulted in a major job decline in the public sector. Gustafsson also reports that China’s various ethnic minorities differ from each other when it comes to economic wellbeing.

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