Publication Date



Limited access to credit can cause financial vulnerability for a household and economic loss for a country. Previous studies have shown that only small portions of populations in developing countries use formal credit, but few studies have focused on Chinese populations. Analyzing data from the 2011 China Household Financial Survey, this study explored Chinese households’ credit use. Over half of the sample (53.21%) reported using credit, and only 19.77% of the sample used formal credit. Use of formal credit was associated with the socioeconomic characteristics of household heads (e.g., employment and education) and of households (e.g., income and net worth). The findings suggest that promoting financial inclusion in China involves expanding access to formal credit among socially and economically disadvantaged households.

Document Type

Working Paper


Financial Inclusion


Global Asset Building


Subsequent publication: Chen, Z., & Jin, M. (2017). Financial inclusion in China: Use of credit. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 38(4), 528–540. 10.1007/s10834-017-9531-x

Original Citation

Chen, Z., & Jin, M. (2016). Financial inclusion in China: Use of credit (CSD Working Paper No. 16-24). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.


Global Assets Project


China, financial capability, financial education, financial literacy, financial knowledge, financial services, credit, asset building, assets