Do 30M Chinese Really Live in Caves?


A “30M Chinese live in caves” statistic keeps getting repeated. And from relatively reputable sources – including the LA Times, the NY Daily News and. Business Insider. Some even claim up to 70M people live in caves in China.

Certainly many people in Shaanxi have cave houses. As shown in the Shaanxi picture above. There is also some historical significance to this. Current Chinese President Xi lived in a cave in Liangjiahe, Shaanxi from 1968 to 1975. And Chairman Mao lived in a two room cave after the Long March ended in Yan’an, Shaanxi.

But I’m still not convinced of the 30M statistic. How big is this phenomenon? Could it really be 30 million people? That would mean there are more people in caves in China than currently live Australia or Scandinavia.

Anyways, I still can’t find any real data to back up this common claim. Any help or feedback would be appreciated. Cheers, jeff


Thanks for reading. My writing (and speaking) are on how rising Chinese consumers are changing the world. (#ConsumerChina). This also includes work on:

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Top photo by Kelly Parker (Creative Commons, license here)


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