Do 30M Chinese Really Live in Caves?


The “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 reports even claim up to 70M people live in caves in China.

Certainly many people in Shaanxi do 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 totally convinced of the 30M statistic. 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


I write and speak about “how rising Chinese consumers are disrupting global markets – with a special focus on digital China”.

Photo by Snowscat on Unsplash


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