Earthquakes happen suddenly and are immensely destructive. They not only destroy entire societal production and infrastructure systems but also seriously interfere with daily life and reduce opportunities to earn income in earthquake-affected areas. In this paper, using the Ning’er Ms 6.4 earthquake in 2007 as an example, we analyzed the livelihood vulnerability of rural households in Ning’er County, Yunnan, based on data from questionnaires and on-site interviews. The results showed that on the whole, local rural household livelihoods are relatively vulnerable in the earthquake-affected area of Ning’er. The main reason for the high level of vulnerability of rural households is the lack of single or multiple incomes. Due to the shortage of household income, the capacity of rural households to manage the aftermath of an earthquake is low. Improving the income allocation and transformation level and expanding methods of earning income is an effective way for rural households to decrease livelihood vulnerability in earthquake-prone areas. Some suggestions are given for local rural households to enhance their livelihood income levels in the event of earthquakes.