China Yearbook 2002 - Rural Household Survey

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China Yearbook 2002: Rural Household Survey in English has been published for the first time. Mr. Zhu Zhixin, the Commissioner of National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) wrote the foreword for this book. Mr. Zhu, along with Mr. Zhu Xiangdong, the Deputy Commissioner of NBS, are the advisors of the book. Mr. Xian Zude, the Director-General of Rural Survey Organization, contributes as the editor-in-chief. Mr. Du Weiqun, Deputy Director-General of Department of International Cooperation, proofread the book.

This yearbook acts as an instrument to summarize the development and outcomes or the rural household survey in China, to provide extensive and up-to-date information on the changing living standards of the rural households, to demonstrate China’s great progress achieved after reform and opening-up to the outside world, and to help the world know better the rural China. After the publication of this yearbook, we received plenty of favorable comments from both international and domestic organizations, governments, institutions and experts.

The household survey is a fundamental component of the national statistical system and applied in many countries. China’s household survey includes two separate programs for the urban and rural areas respectively and is carried out by the National Bureau of Statistics of China.

China’s rural household survey (RHS), once known as the "Rural Family Income and Expenditure Survey" and "Rural Family Budget Survey", was launched in 1954 but suspended twice during the period of 1954-1977 due to domestic political reasons and then resumed in 1977. Along with the process of economic reform and development of the statistical sector, the survey was redesigned in 1979 following the requirements of the United Nations National Household Survey Capability Programme (NHSCP) and taking into consideration the sample survey programs of other countries. The survey was further developed when the Rural Survey Organization was established by the National Bureau of Statistics in 1984 with its branches in 31 provinces and sub-branches in 857 counties.

The main objective of the RHS is to provide extensive and up-to-date information on the living standards of the households, their quality of life and progress of the poverty reduction program in rural China. The survey collects information with both interview and diary methods in the areas of demographic characteristics, production, circulation, income, consumption, accumulation and community characteristics of rural households. The survey is the largest of such surveys in the world, covering 68 thousand rural households and carried out by 8 thousand interviewers and 10 thousand assistant interviewers.

The survey plays a crucial role in China’s official statistics by providing information for decision-making purposes by the Government. It is also the data sources for the world to know rural China. The publication of this China Yearbook 2002: Rural Household Survey in English is to introduce to the world the development and outcomes of the RHS, demonstrate the progress achieved in rural China and provide information for international organizations, research institutions and research individuals who are interested in China’s rural economy.

On the occasion of the publication of China Yearbook 2002: Rural Household Survey in English, I would like to express my gratitude to the Chinese statisticians engaged in the survey for their efforts, to the respondents for their cooperation and to the national statistical offices of other countries, international organizations and individuals for their contributions. Comments from readers will be appreciated for future improvement of this publication.

Zhu Zhixin Commissioner National Bureau of Statistics of China

China Yearbook 2002 - Rural Household Survey