Data Sharing for Demographic Research

A data archive for demography and population sciences

This study was originally processed, archived, and disseminated by Data Sharing and Demographic Research, a project funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

Chinese Household Income Project, 1988 (ICPSR 9836)

Principal Investigator(s):


The purpose of this project was to measure and estimate the distribution of income in both rural and urban areas of the People's Republic of China. The principal investigators based their definition of income on cash payments and on a broad range of additional components: payments in kind valued at market prices, agricultural output produced for self-consumption valued at market prices, the value of ration coupons and other direct subsidies, and the imputed value of housing. The rural component of this collection consists of two data files, one in which the individual is the unit of analysis and a second in which the household is the unit of analysis. Individual rural respondents reported on their employment status, level of education, Communist Party membership, type of employer (e.g., public, private, or foreign), type of economic sector in which employed, occupation, whether they held a second job, retirement status, monthly pension, monthly wage, and other sources of income. Demographic variables include relationship to householder, gender, age, and student status. Rural households reported extensively on the character of the household and residence. Information was elicited on type of terrain surrounding the house, geographic position, type of house, and availability of electricity. Also reported were sources of household income (e.g., farming, industry, government, rents, and interest), taxes paid, value of farm, total amount and type of cultivated land, financial assets and debts, quantity and value of various crops (e.g., grains, cotton, flax, sugar, tobacco, fruits and vegetables, tea, seeds, nuts, lumber, livestock and poultry, eggs, fish and shrimp, wool, honey, and silkworm cocoons), amount of grain purchased or provided by a collective, use of chemical fertilizers, gasoline, and oil, quantity and value of agricultural machinery, and all household expenditures (e.g., food, fuel, medicine, education, transportation, and electricity). The urban component of this collection also consists of two data files, one in which the individual is the unit of analysis and a second in which the household is the unit of analysis. Individual urban respondents reported on their economic status within the household, Communist Party membership, sex, age, nature of employment, and relationship to the household head. Information was collected on all types and sources of income from each member of the household whether working, nonworking, or retired, all revenue received by owners of private or individual enterprises, and all in-kind payments (e.g., food and durable and non-durable goods). Urban households reported total income (including salaries, interest on savings and bonds, dividends, rent, leases, alimony, gifts, and boarding fees), all types and values of food rations received, and total debt. Information was also gathered on household accommodations and living conditions, including number of rooms, total living area in square meters, availability and cost of running water, sanitary facilities, heating and air-conditioning equipment, kitchen availability, location of residence, ownership of home, and availability of electricity and telephone. Households reported on all of their expenditures including amounts spent on food items such as wheat, rice, edible oils, pork, beef and mutton, poultry, fish and seafood, sugar, and vegetables by means of both coupons in state-owned stores and at free market prices. Information was also collected on rents paid by the households, fuel available, type of transportation used, and availability and use of medical and child care.

The Chinese Household Income Project collected data in 1988, 1995, 2002, and 2007. ICPSR holds data from the first three collections, and information about these can be found on the series description page. Data collected in 2007 are available through the China Institute for Income Distribution.

Series: Chinese Household Income Project Series

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.


WARNING: This study is over 150MB in size and may take several minutes to download on a typical internet connection.

DS1:  Rural Individual Data - Download All Files (42 MB)
DS2:  Rural Household Data - Download All Files (155.3 MB) large dataset
DS3:  Urban Individual Data - Download All Files (62.8 MB)
DS4:  Urban Household Data - Download All Files (47.2 MB)

Study Description


Griffin, Keith, and Zhao Renwei. Chinese Household Income Project, 1988. ICPSR09836-v2. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2010-07-06.

Persistent URL:

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)


This study was funded by:

  • Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
  • Ford Foundation
  • City University of New York
  • Leverhulme Trust (United Kingdom)
  • Columbia University. Weatherhead East Asian Institute
  • University of California-Riverside

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   agriculture, cash payments, child care, debt, demographic characteristics, educational background, electric utilities, employers, employment, farms, financial assets, food, food production, home ownership, household income, housing construction, income, income distribution, interest (finance), livestock, living conditions, medical care, occupations, pensions, rental housing, retirement income, rural areas, sanitation, taxes, transportation, urban areas, wages and salaries

Geographic Coverage:   China (Peoples Republic), Global

Time Period:  

  • 1988

Date of Collection:  

  • 1989-03--1989-06

Universe:   Resident population of the People's Republic of China.

Data Types:   survey data

Data Collection Notes:

Users may disaggregate the data down to the county level through use of the Codes for the Administrative Divisions of the People's Republic of China (in Chinese) issued by the State Statistical Bureau, which are included in the hardcopy documentation for this collection.


Sample:   The data collection consists of two distinct samples of the urban and rural population of the People's Republic of China which were selected from significantly larger samples (67,186 rural households and 34,945 urban households) drawn by the State Statistical Bureau. For a complete description of sampling procedures used, refer to Part 14 of this collection.

Mode of Data Collection:   paper and pencil interview (PAPI)

Data Source:

personal interviews

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Performed consistency checks.
  • Created variable labels and/or value labels.
  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2010-07-06 Added variable and value labels, coded missing values, and reorganized data documentation and files. Made data available in SAS, SPSS, Stata, ASCII with setup files, and tab-delimited ASCII.

Related Publications ?



Metadata Exports

If you're looking for collection-level metadata rather than an individual metadata record, please visit our Metadata Records page.

Download Statistics

Found a problem? Use our Report Problem form to let us know.