China: Case study on Human Development Progress towards the Millennium Developmental Goals at the Sub-National Level

2003 Occasional Paper
By Woo, Thye Wing; Bao, Shuming

The 31 provinces of China cover 9.6 million square kilometers and stretches from the temperate to sub-tropical zones. China is similar in size and climate to the United States but its topography is quite different. The most important difference being that the U.S. has coastlines running the length of its eastern and western borders, whereas western China is landlocked. China is also more mountainous and hilly, with plains at less than 500m elevation making up only 25 percent of the total land area, and mountains and plateaus accounting for 60 percent. These topographic features of China imply higher transportation costs and a greater requirement for physical infrastructure construction. The task of economic development in China is hence more challenging than in the U.S.A.