Professor Qin Gao Wins UNICEF Grant to Study Multidimensional Child Poverty in China

October 18, 2019

Dr. Qin Gao, Professor at the Columbia School of Social Work and Director of the Columbia China Center for Social Policy, received a grant from the UNICEF to study multidimensional child poverty in China. Prof. Gao and her research team will examine the incidence, patterns, and determinants of child multidimensional poverty in the national, urban, rural, and migrant populations in China. They will also investigate the extent to which China’s Minimum Livelihood Guarantee (or Dibao) policy has helped address child poverty and promote child development.

This newly funded project is among the first to estimate multidimensional child poverty in China, including dimensions of education, health, mental health, living conditions, and ownership of durable goods. Existing literature shows that the overlap between consumption or income poverty and multidimensional poverty is only moderate, suggesting that using income or consumption only to measure child poverty is insufficient. “Studying child multidimensional poverty can help monitor child well-being more accurately and offer evidence for effective policy interventions,” said Dr. Gao.  

Yi Wang, PhD candidate at the Columbia School of Social Work and fellow of both the Columbia China Center for Social Policy and Columbia Population Research Center, will work closely with Prof. Gao on this project. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work on this important research,” she said. “The project fits well with my broader research focus on inequalities in child development and well-being across societies. It is fulfilling for me to produce new empirical evidence and contribute to the policy dialogue on child poverty in China and internationally.”

Rong Yu, Master of Social Work candidate at the Columbia School of Social Work and fellow of the Columbia China Center for Social Policy, is also eager to embark on this project. Before coming to Columbia, Rong worked as a Division Chief at the China Center for Urban Development in Beijing. In this role, she worked with UNICEF on projects related to child protection as well as family and community support in several big cities. Rong is excited to collaborate again with UNICEF through this project. “I’m proud to be part of this extraordinary research team,” she said. “Together, we will find better ways to improve child well-being in China and elsewhere.”

The Columbia China Center plans to hold a joint forum with UNICEF China to share findings from this project and discuss policy solutions in summer 2020.

Columbia Affiliations
China Center for Social Policy