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Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13469-13499; doi:10.3390/su71013469

Multi-Scale Measurement of Regional Inequality in Mainland China during 2005–2010 Using DMSP/OLS Night Light Imagery and Population Density Grid Data

1,* , 1
2,3,4,* , 4
School of Economics, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, Wuhan 430073, China
State Key Laboratory of Information Engineering in Surveying, Mapping and Remote Sensing, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430079, China
Collaborative Innovation Centre of Geospatial Technology, Wuhan 430079, China
Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, 20742 MD, USA
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Eric Vaz
Received: 1 August 2015 / Revised: 16 September 2015 / Accepted: 22 September 2015 / Published: 30 September 2015
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This study used the Night Light Development Index (NLDI) to measure the regional inequality of public services in Mainland China at multiple scales. The NLDI was extracted based on a Gini Coefficient approach to measure the spatial differences of population distribution and night light distribution. Population data were derived from the dataset of China’s population density grid, and night light data were acquired from satellite imagery. In the multi-scale analysis, we calculated the NLDI for China as a whole, eight economic regions, 31 provincial regions, and 354 prefectural cities for the two years of 2005 and 2010. The results indicate that Southwest China and Northwest China are the regions with the most unequal public services, with NLDI values of 0.7116 and 0.7251 for 2005, respectively, and 0.6678 and 0.6304 for 2010, respectively. In contrast, Northern Coastal China had the lowest NLDI values of 0.4775 and 0.4312 for 2005 and 2010, respectively, indicating that this region had the most equal public services. Also, the regional inequality of Mainland China in terms of NLDI has been reduced from 0.6161 to 0.5743 during 2005–2010. The same pattern was observed from the provincial and prefectural analysis, suggesting that public services in Mainland China became more equal within the five-year period. A regression analysis indicated that provincial and prefectural regions with more public services per capita and higher population density had more equal public services. View Full-Text
Keywords: regional inequality; China; Lorenz Curve; night light; remote sensing regional inequality; China; Lorenz Curve; night light; remote sensing

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Xu, H.; Yang, H.; Li, X.; Jin, H.; Li, D. Multi-Scale Measurement of Regional Inequality in Mainland China during 2005–2010 Using DMSP/OLS Night Light Imagery and Population Density Grid Data. Sustainability 2015, 7, 13469-13499.

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