Shanghai’s middle-class families are the least happy, according to the White Book of Happiness of Middle Class Families released by Manulife-Sinochem early this year.
Their survey quizzed the moods of more than 70,000 Chinese from throughout the nation, all with an annual income of more than 50,000 yuan (5,350 euros). The national average now hovers around 30,000 yuan (3,200 euros).
And it found those who made around 50,000 yuan – defined as the middle class – were the least happy with their lot in life, citing the pressure to make more money and the loss of time to spend with the families as the major reasons.
The most happy were those in the 110,000-200,000 yuan (11,700-21,400 euros) wage bracket while in age group terms it was those in the 30-35 group.
The white book was based on surveys of more than 100,000 people from 35 cities in 10 provinces and municipalities. Even in the happiest provinces, such as Jiangsu, Sichuan and Fujian, more than half of middle class families said they are “not happy”.
But Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Social Policy Research Center Secretary General Tang Jun said the government should continue to strive to bring a third of the population into the middle class during the 12th Five-Year Plan 2011-2015 period. The middle class should become society’s backbone and shoulder responsibility, he said.
About 23 percent of Chinese are middle class, and the proportion could increase to 40 percent by 2020, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences researcher Lu Xueyi said.