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Should it be:
'The number of wealthy households whose annual income exceed or exceeds 250,000 yuan, or about 36,000 US dollars living in urban areas, topped 1.6 million last year.'
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* I mean, 'It seems obvious...
pjrydoAnd what is the rule?
The rule, which in English isn't of course always adhered to, is that a singular subject takes a singular verb and a plural subject takes a plural verb: My friend speaks English. My friends speak English. Therefore, because the subject (income) is a singular word, the singular verb (exceeds) must be used.

CB
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The number of wealthy households whose annual income exceed or exceeds 250,000 yuan,...

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Whose- refers to "households' income". even though income appears as singular, the relative pronoun "whose" pertained to the households which is plural. Therefore, it is "exceed".
 Hi Pjrydo
Which verb would you use: 'exceed' or 'exceeds'? 
pjrydo'The number of wealthy households whose annual income exceed or exceeds 250,000 yuan, or about 36,000 US dollars living in urban areas, topped 1.6 million last year.'
To my American ear the only correct sounding word is "exceeds."
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HI Ray,
For pure discussion purpose, please educate me. I am interested in the analytic of this sentence.
I already expressed how I approached the sentence. " Whose income" is relative to "households" which was pluralized.
If this analytic holds true, how could the verb be singular? Maybe I approached from the wrong angle.....
'The number of wealthy households whose annual income exceeds 250,000 yuan, or about 36,000 US dollars living in urban areas, topped 1.6 million last year.'
Whose begins a relative clause. There is only one noun (income) before the finite verb. Income, the subject of the relative clause, is singular. No other word can be the subject of the relative clause, because there are no other words before the verb (exceeds). Households is in the main clause and consequently has nothing whatsoever to do with the choice of the verb form in the relative clause.

CB
I think it has everything to do with the households

<<<Households
is in the main clause and consequently has nothing whatsoever to do with the choice of the
verb form in the relative clause>>>

Income- appeared as singular in this sentence. But I think it is misleading.
I assumed we should all agree that there are 1.6 million households whose income(s) exceed 250,000 Yuan or 36,000.
US.
How could this be a single income?
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