Regional Social Inequalities and Social Deprivation in Guangdong Province, China


  • This article was supported by the Chinese National Science Foundation (No. 41071106; 41130747), by ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) grants (RES-167-25-0005, RES-167-25-0448), by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, SYSU, and by the Soft Science Research Project of the Guangdong Provincial Science and Technology Department 2011.


This article examines social deprivation at a regional scale using the case of Guangdong province, China. Counties, county-level cities, and districts of prefecture cities are selected as the units of analysis. At the provincial level, a significant variation is found in terms of the social deprivation index, showing a pattern of increasing deprivation from the core of the Pearl River Delta (PRD) to the peripheral areas of Guangdong province. In the PRD, social development conditions are significantly different among these units, whereas the level of economic development is less differentiated. Social deprivation in urban areas is considerably lower than in rural areas. The differences between cities are significant, showing a bifurcation trend, whereas rural areas seem to be similar. Social disparities in Guangdong province are derived from unequal economic growth as well as social and regional policies.