China / Society

Pressure takes its toll on Beijingers: survey

By Zheng Xin (China Daily) Updated: 2012-10-26 08:36

More feeling the strain from life in the capital, report finds

More than 30 percent of those polled are feeling increasing pressure from living in China's capital, according to a newly released report by the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences.

Medical expenses, rising housing prices, old-age security and the growing price of commodities are the four major sources of this pressure, said Li Yang, a researcher with the academy.

Figures from report show per capita disposable income for urban residents rose by 86 percent from 2005 to 2011, while rural per capita net income grew by 87 percent during the same period. Both have risen faster than the consumer price index, or price increases.

However, the income gap continues to be a problem, with consumption levels between rural and urban residents seeing only a slight improvement over the same period, the academy said.

The income gap between industries continues to widen, with the real-estate sector offering the highest average salary among all 17 traditional industries studied by the academy, 2.8 times higher than the supermarket retail industry.

But the rise in incomes is far below the increase in GDP during the same period, the report said.

In addition to complaining about income disparity, of the 101 poll participants 32.6 percent said they are facing increased pressure from living in Beijing.

Medical expenses account for the most stress, with 73.3 percent saying this is the case, followed by rising house prices (65.3 percent), old-age security (64.4 percent) and inflation (61.4 percent), the report states.

Only 1 percent of the participants said their quality of life had greatly improved, while 19.8 percent said it had improved slightly.

Some 34.7 percent said they did not feel there had been any change, and 40.6 percent said their quality of life had declined.

Bao Xian, a 26-year-old accountant, said: "My salary has increased a little bit after my recent job-hopping, but all that is based on extra work and overtime, as well as persistent mental pressure and less time with family and friends. A salary increase does not equate to growing happiness, especially in a tense, first-tier city like Beijing."

In another study on the degree of satisfaction with the government's work, the participants again voiced discontent over house-price controls and income distribution adjustment.

However, they gave the government credit for its achievements in public culture and sports, as well as environmental protection. Some 61.4 percent also said they would express their opinions on the policies through the Internet, according to Li, the academy researcher.

He said the Internet has become an important channel for people to voice their opinions and appeals.

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