According to the Chinese government, unemployment sits at 4.1 percent, and the country's Gini coefficient is a relatively modest 0.44.
Two new studies cast doubt on those figures.
Gan Li, a professor at Southwestern University of Finance and Economics and Texas A&M University, surveyed 8,000 Chinese households and found unemployment at 8.05 percent, according to Dow Jones' Tom Orlick.
Most of China's low-skilled, urban residents the survey found. Orlick says many most would have lost their jobs when state-owned enterprises closed in the 1990s and never returned to the workforce.
The same survey found China was much more unequal than previously thought, with a Gini coefficient of 0.61 — putting it closer to the likes of Haiti and Botswana.
The figure is also 50 per cent above the "risk level" for social unrest, the South China Morning quoted Beijing Times.
In 2005, the World Bank put the figure at 0.425, the SCMP said.
The Chinese government does not appear totally ignorant of these other figures. Incoming President Xi Jinping has previously warned corruption may endanger the Party's rule, according to Bloomberg.
More From Business Insider