Living in China: Cost of living hurts Shanghai’s ranking
Soaring living costs and high housing prices are negatively affecting how Shanghai residents feel about their quality of life, according to a nationwide economic survey released recently: The survey also reveals a difference in how residents rank their city in areas and their subjective feelings about quality of life.
Shanghai ranks fourth, topping 31 other mainland cities surveyed, when quality of life is evaluated by a mix of objective factors such as transportation and medical service, but it drops drastically, to 20th, when it comes to residents’ subjective feelings about the city.
More than 200,000 city residents were interviewed by phone during the survey conducted by an economic research institute co-founded by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the Capital University of Economics and Business. The survey finds higher living costs are depressing feelings of quality of life – a common trend for residents in megacities such as Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
Big cities have had economic booms, with more developed public service infrastructure and policies, but their residents are reporting a lesser degree of life-quality satisfaction in sharp contrast to the smaller cities, according to Zhang Liancheng, an economist and institute dean. “The result may be proof of the fact that the rapid growth of China’s economy is mainly being driven by investment instead of consumption. Ordinary people fail to share as much benefit from economic growth as they have expected,” Zhang said during a weekend forum at which the report was released.
The researchers warned that it’s now urgent for mega-cities like Shanghai and Beijing to control further expansion. Hangzhou, capital of neighboring Zhejiang Province and renowned for its appealing environment, is the second on the life-quality rankings by residents’ feelings. Changchun, a city in northeast China’s Jilin Province, tops all others on this list