Equality of Medical Health Resource Allocation in China Based on the Gini Coefficient Method

Iran J Public Health. 2015 Apr;44(4):445-57.


Background: The Chinese government is trying to achieve the goal of "universal access to basic health care services". However, the inequality of the distribution of health care resources across the country is the biggest obstacle. This paper aims to explore these inequalities and the extent to which the method of analysis influences the perception.

Methods: The indicators of health care resource distribution studied consisted of the number of health care institutions, the number of beds in health care institutions and the number of medical personnel. Data were obtained from the China Statistical Yearbook 2014. The extent of equality was assessed using the Lorenz Curve and Gini Coefficient Method.

Results: Health care resource distribution in China demonstrates inequalities. The demographic Gini Coefficients based on the Lorenz Curves for the distribution of health care institutions, beds in health care institutions and medical personnel are 0.190, 0.070 and 0.070 respectively, while the corresponding Coefficients based on geographical areas are 0.616, 0.639 and 0.650.

Conclusion: The equality of China's demographically assessed distribution of health care resources is greater than that of its geographically measured distribution. Coefficients expressed by population imply there is ready access to healthcare in all regions, whilst the Coefficients by geographical area apparently indicate inequality. This is the result of the sparsity of population.

Keywords: Gini coefficient; Health care resources; Inequality; Lorenz curve.

Publication types

  • Review