Chinese state media say the government plans to conduct a nationwide income survey to help it calculate a politically sensitive measure of wealth inequality.
The China Daily newspaper on Tuesday quoted a National Statistics Bureau official as saying the survey will be conducted with help from Canada and the results will be published next year.
Xie Hongguang says the release of the standarized survey data will pave the way for calculating a wealth-inequality statistic known as the Gini coefficient. The statistic has been released previously for rural but not urban residents.
The government has promised hefty increases in social spending to help narrow the gap between China's poor majority and an elite who have profited from three decades of economic reform.