Soaring housing prices, high cost of raising children, work-related stress become too much for many to bear
BEIJING - When Yu Bingbing, a 28-year-old market research manager, is on her way to work in central Beijing each morning, she always cannot help feeling anxious about whether she has locked the door of her apartment and turned off the gas.
Facing soaring property prices, outstanding credit cards debts and the pressure of raising children, many Chinese white-collar workers are over-fatigued every day and in poor health. [CFP]
"I'm usually wrestling with these feelings for the entire day," Yu said.
Working at an international pharmaceutical firm, Yu looks older than she is and her heavily made-up face always has an exhausted look.
"Since I have been promoted to a managerial position, I lose my temper with my parents and husband more frequently just because of some trivial things," she said, adding that slight wrinkles and acne on her face have irritated her even more, and even luxury cosmetics cannot help her.
"I have to work six days a week and don't even have extra off time when I'm sick," she said. "I have to push myself to become a workaholic since the competition in my company is really fierce and I also have to pay a 5,000 yuan monthly mortgage, besides saving a certain amount of money for my planned baby."
"I have to turn off the lights in the office at night, otherwise I would be replaced by other better-performing colleagues," she added.
Life is like riding on a rollercoaster for Yu and many other members of China's post-80s generation, the first generation born after the introduction of the family-planning policy and the group to benefit most from the country's opening-up policy and its booming economy.
Being the only child in their family, and without much to trouble them during their youth, most of them were taken good care of or even spoiled by their parents and grandparents.
Having such a relatively carefree youth - when this generation reached adulthood and had to cope with soaring prices, the high cost of raising children and intense competition in the workplace - they suffered a rude awakening.
According to statistics, the population of China's post-80s generation is over 200 million. The media usually refers to them as "slaves" to property, credit cards, children and marriage.
Some figures can tell the real story of this generation.
Chinese property prices in 70 cities rose 11.7 percent in March from a year earlier, up from 10.7 percent in the year to February, the National Bureau of Statistics said on April 14.
It was the tenth consecutive year-on-year rise after seven months of decline, adding to worries that a bubble is forming in the property market. Many analysts say the way the index is compiled seriously understates the degree of property inflation.
A survey by China Investment Research Consultant shows that the average expenditure on a wedding was 30,000-40,000 yuan in 2009 compared with 20,000 yuan in 2005.
Another survey by Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences showed that average cost of bringing up a child in China is estimated at 490,000 yuan. But many netizens argued that it would exceed 1 million yuan in large Chinese cities.
Meanwhile, a survey conducted by Modern International Market Research Co Ltd (MIMR), Sina.com and Guangzhou Daily, said that 81 percent of the post-80s generation members polled earned less than 6,000 yuan a month while the monthly salary of 52.6 percent of them was no more than 3,000 yuan. In addition, over 85 percent of them have less than 100,000 yuan in savings.
The survey of 3,313 Chinese post-80s generation members showed that 52.6 percent said they are under great pressure. Besides, 48.1 percent of them attributed this pressure to issues such as buying a home, raising children and supporting their parents.