The Engel's coefficient – the proportion of household income spent on food – in China's rural areas steadily decreased from 46.24% in 2002 to 43.02% in 2006, state media reported. The measure is an internationally acknowledged index of a country's living standards. Last year, farmers' per capita income reached US$465, up 7.4% year-on-year and for the past three years, farmers' incomes have also seen a 6% increase since 1985. Yin Chengjie, the vice minister of agriculture, said this has been best development period in China's rural areas in history. Yin added that comprehensive rural reform will need to be promoted for sustained increase in farmers' income, as an income disparity of more than three to one exists between urban and rural residents.