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Open AccessArticle

Regional Inequality in China Based on NPP-VIIRS Night-Time Light Imagery

Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
Department of Economics and Management, Yuncheng University, Yuncheng 044000, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(2), 240;
Received: 11 December 2017 / Revised: 29 January 2018 / Accepted: 4 February 2018 / Published: 5 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Night Lights – Beyond DMSP)
Regional economic inequality is a persistent problem for all nations. Meanwhile, satellite-derived night-time light (NTL) data have been extensively used as an efficient proxy measure for economic activity. This study firstly proposes a new method for correction of the NTL data derived from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) aboard the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi-NPP) satellite and then applies the corrected NTL data to estimate gross domestic product (GDP) at a multi-scale level in China from 2014 to 2017. Secondly, incorporating the two-stage nested Theil decomposition method, multi-scale level regional inequalities are investigated. Finally, by using scatter plots, this paper identifies the relationship between the regional inequality and the level of economic development. The results indicate that: (1) after correction, the NPP-VIIRS NTL data show a statistically positive correlation with GDP, which proves that our correction method is scientifically effective; (2) from 2014 to 2017, overall inequality, within-province inequality, and between-region inequality all declined, However, between-province inequality increased slightly. As for the contributions to overall regional inequality, the within-province inequality was the highest, while the between-province inequality was the lowest; (3) further analysis of within-province inequality reveals that economic inequalities in coastal provinces in China are smaller than in inland provinces; (4) China’s economic development plays an important role in affecting regional inequality, and the extent of influence of economic development on regional inequality is varied across provinces. View Full-Text
Keywords: Regional Inequality; NPP-VIIRS; Theil index; China Regional Inequality; NPP-VIIRS; Theil index; China
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MDPI and ACS Style

Wu, R.; Yang, D.; Dong, J.; Zhang, L.; Xia, F. Regional Inequality in China Based on NPP-VIIRS Night-Time Light Imagery. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 240.

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