Chart of the Week October 30, 2020: China’s Social Expenditure over the Past Decade


China’s Social Expenditure comprises of six different components: education expenditure, pension insurance, medical and healthcare expenditure, unemployment insurance, housing insurance, and minimum living allowance (China Development Research Foundation, 2013). Since 2017, China has emphasized the importance of increasing their investments in education, healthcare, and welfare benefits in order to mitigate inequities in social and economic development. This week’s Chart of the Week presents annual data from the National Bureau of Statistics of China, to depict the nation’s welfare expenditure and composition. 


  • Social expenditure has more than doubled within the past decade, from 2.9 trillion Yuan in 2011 to 6.0 trillion Yuan in 2018. The social expenditure to GDP ratio peaked at 7.1% in 2016 and dropped to 6.5% in 2018. 
  • Education expenditure, and medical and healthcare expenditure are the top two contributors to social expenditure, at almost 80%. However, the share of education expenditure has decreased from 57% in 2011 to 54% in 2018, while the share of medical and healthcare expenditure has increased from 22% to 26%. This is indicative of China’s aging population. 
  • Unemployment insurance remains at approximately 1.5% of total social expenditure. This demonstrate a stable job market in China over the period of time shown. 

Article By Xuyao ZHANG 

Graphic By Shu En LEE

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