Share this on Twitter Share this on Facebook Share this on LinkedIn Share this on Sina Weibo Share this on Wechat Share this on LinkedIn Professor Nancy Qian wants to direct attention to China’s per capita GDP, not just its total GDP. Looking at more than that one number of overall growth reveals that China’s population is still quite poor, she argues.Credit: Y Denali, Creative Commons CHICAGO – Economic reporting about China focuses far too much on total GDP and not enough on per capita GDP, which is the more revealing indicator. And this skewed coverage has important implications, because the two indicators paint significantly different pictures of China’s current economic and political situation. They also focus our attention on different issues. A quick search through all English-language news outlets in the ProQuest database for the ten-year period from 2011-21 shows that 20,915 articles discussed China’s GDP, whereas only 1,163 mentioned its GDP per capita. The difference was proportionally even larger among the eight largest and most elite papers, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post, where 5,963 articles referred to Chinese GDP and only 305 discussed the per capita measure. In 2019, China’s GDP (measured at market exchange rates) of $14 trillion was the world’s second largest, after tSubscribe or login to read the rest. Subscribers get full access to: Exclusive longform investigative journalism, Q&As, news and analysis, and data on Chinese business elites and corporations. We publish China scoops you won't find anywhere else. A weekly curated reading list on China from David Barboza, Pulitzer Prize-winning former Shanghai correspondent for The New York Times. A daily roundup of China finance, business and economics headlines. We offer discounts for groups, institutions and students. Go to our Subscriptions page for details.