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China’s Special Poor Areas and Their Geographical Conditions

Xin Xu (), Chengjin Wang (), Shiping Ma () and Wenzhong Zhang ()
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Xin Xu: Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
Chengjin Wang: Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
Shiping Ma: Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
Wenzhong Zhang: Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China

Sustainability, 2021, vol. 13, issue 15, 1-15

Abstract: Special functional areas and poor areas tend to spatially overlap, and poverty is a common feature of both. Special poor areas, taken as a kind of “policy space,” have attracted the interest of researchers and policymakers around the world. This study proposes a basic concept of special poor areas and uses this concept to develop a method to identify them. Poor counties in China are taken as the basic research unit and overlaps in spatial attributes including old revolutionary bases, borders, ecological degradation, and ethnic minorities, are used to identify special poor areas. The authors then analyze their basic quantitative structure and pattern of distribution to determine the geographical bases’ formation and development. The results show that 304 counties in China, covering a vast territory of 12 contiguous areas that contain a small population, are lagging behind the rest of the country. These areas are characterized by rich energy and resource endowments, important ecological functions, special historical status, and concentrated poverty. They are considered “special poor” for geographical reasons such as a relatively harsh natural geographical environment, remote location, deteriorating ecological environment, and an inadequate infrastructure network and public service system. Some areas suffer from underdevelopment and even lack the infrastructure for basic living. In order to prevent further deterioration of the economic, social, and ecological environments in these areas, targeted policies need to be implemented.

Keywords: special poor areas; contiguous areas; geographical conditions; China (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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