The income gap between urban and rural residents is shrinking, as villagers' earnings increased during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) thanks to booming businesses in rural areas and support for migrant workers, according to a report released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.
Despite the impact of COVID-19, the average disposable income of rural residents reached 17,131 yuan ($2,326) last year, seeing a year-on-year increase of 3.8 percent and tripling the number in 2015.
Apart from farming, farmers also made a living by going out for work, starting up businesses and tapping into local tourism resources, the report said. Rural tourism was burgeoning, and the net yearly income of households in this sector increased from 4,504 yuan in 2015 to 6,077 yuan last year.
Also, the salaries of migrant workers accounted for 41.6 percent of the overall income rise of the rural population. The rural reform that helped farmers better utilize their land and other properties contributed to the income boost as well, with the average annual income of this demographic seeing a 10.7 percent increase during the past five years.
Farmers have benefited from preferential policies regarding healthcare and elderly care, which brought them additional earnings, reaching 3,661 yuan last year, from various subsidies.
The income growth of rural residents have been faster than urban residents for 11 years in a row, with the income gap rate narrowed from 2.99:1 in 2010 to 2.56:1 last year.
To achieve the long-term goal of common prosperity in urban and rural areas, the ministry will further stabilize farming subsidies, develop rural industries, promote employment and entitle famers with more properties.