A couple of recent surveys published in the China Daily add emphasis to my recent post about a sense of frustration over the growing difficulty of everyday life in China.
From an article under the headline “Study finds middle class ‘unhappy'”:
Even in the happiest provinces, such as Jiangsu, Sichuan and Fujian, more than half of middle class families said they are “not happy”. …
… “I need money to pay the mortgage, to give my son a better education and to support myself after retirement in a couple of decades.”
Hu said most of the family’s savings will go to her son’s education.
The distribution of education resources is unfair, she said, but all she can do is to save enough money to pay for better schooling for her son.
The family also feels pressure from the increasing prices of almost all goods and services, she said.
“The only thing that hasn’t gone up is our household income,” Hu said.
Another survey reported that people felt “vulnerable” and “powerless”:
The survey found 45.1 percent of Party and government officials, 57.8 percent of white-collar workers and 55.4 percent of intellectuals felt “powerless”.In addition, 73.5 percent of netizens said they belong to the “vulnerable social group”.
This is just a small sample. Almost everyday there is a fresh article in the paper testifying to these daily difficulties. For example, today’s ‘China’ page of the China Daily carries stories on water pollution from of economic growth, the rural-urban healthcare gap, and growing urban property prices.
That last one, house prices, is probably the most bemoaned these days. It’s also the source of the picture above, which shows the front page of a Chinese newspaper quoting a recent government report that says 85% of Chinese families don’t have enough money to buy homes. That’s a scary big number no matter how it’s calculated, especially for anyone looking to start a family.
December seems to be the season for summing up the last year into simple, manageable themes. I’ll offer this one for China: the mounting pressure of everyday life.