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Gallup: Chinese People See Themselves Struggling  

2011-04-24 00:08:26|  分类: 英语学习 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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April 21, 2011, 6:58 PM HKT

With a roaring economy, gleaming new infrastructure and a rising profile on the world stage, one might assume China’s people are feeling pretty good about their lives these days.

Gallup: Chinese People See Themselves Struggling - 2011 - 2011

Qilai Shen/European Pressphoto Agency
Commuters in a metro station in Shanghai…why so glum?

Not so, according to a new polling data from Gallup.

In results that seem to contradict a similar poll by the Pew Research Center, Gallup’s 2010 global wellbeing survey, issued this week, found only 12% of Chinese people thought of themselves as what Gallup calls “thriving,” while a whopping 71% said they were struggling and 17% said they were downright suffering.

Meanwhile, only 38% of people in the U.S. said they were struggling and a full 59% judged themselves to be thriving, according to Gallup.

Even given China’s struggles with runaway housing prices and rising food costs, it’s puzzling that nearly three quarters of Chinese people see themselves as struggling, particularly when the majority of people in the U.S., which spent all of last year flirting with double-digit unemployment, feel just fine.

The Gallup results are also surprising because they clash with Pew Research’s Global Attitudes survey, which finds Chinese people feeling significantly more optimistic about their lives.

Both the Pew and the Gallup polls measure life satisfaction by asking survey respondents to rank their lives on the Cantril Scale , or what Pew calls the “Ladder of Life” – a measure of present and future life quality ranging from zero to 10, with 10 representing the best possible life. In the Pew poll, 31% of Chinese people gave their present lives high marks (seven to 10) and 74% said they expected to live highly satisfying lives in the future. (Gallup combines present and future life ratings, with “thriving” roughly equivalent to a “high” score in Pew’s survey.)

It’s not entirely clear why the polls offer such different pictures of China. Pew surveyed more than three times as many Chinese people as Gallup, so sample size could be a factor. Scope might also come into play, with Pew talking disproportionately to urban residents, who are generally wealthier than people in the countryside.

Interestingly, according to the Gallup study, China is not the only fast-growing economy with a pessimistic population: Only 17% of Indians and 16% of Vietnamese people placed themselves in the upper echelons of life satisfaction–both below the global median of 21%.

Indeed, people in Asia as a whole scored slightly below the global thriving median, while residents of both Europe (25%) and the Americas (42%) scored well above it.

Accounting for the regional optimism gap may be as simple as looking at per capita GDP. In an analysis of Gallup’s 2006 global well being survey, Princeton economist Angus Deaton discovered an almost direct correlation between life satisfaction and GDP per head–people in wealthier countries were generally happier–while finding that economic growth actually had a negative effect on people’s sense of their own well-being.

Other economists have tried to account for economic growth’s negative relationship with life satisfaction–known as the Easterlin Paradox – by theorizing that a person’s sense of well being is determined by relative, rather than absolute, income. The idea is controversial in economic circles, but it might shed light on low levels of optimism in China, where a growing wealth gap has stoked increasing social tension.

While Gallup doesn’t touch on the subject, culture offers another explanation for Chinese pessimism. Unlike the U.S., driven since at least the 19th century by the sunny notion of Manifest Destiny, China, with its long history of boom and bust, has tended to value humility and a relatively strict management of expectations.

Evidence of this attitude is visible in the Communist Party’s insistence, even as it presides over a record-breaking pursuit of prosperity, that its end goal is the establishment of a “moderately well-off society” .

Struggling, in other words, may be the adjective Chinese people prefer.

Source: China Real Time Report 


腾飞的经济,崭新的基础设施,不断提升的国际地位人们可能以为,中国民众如今对生活相当满 意。一项新的盖洛普民调显示,事实并非如此。

盖洛普民意调查所本周公布的2010年 全球幸福度调查结果表明,只有12%的中国人认为自己“生活美满”。多达71%的答问者说,他们生活艰难。17%的人说自己的生活苦不堪言。与此相比,只有38%的美国人说自己生活艰难,有多达59%的答问者认为自己生活美满。即便考虑到中国房价失控和食品价格持续上涨的因素,仍无法理解为什么将近四分之三的中国人认为自己生活艰难。更何况,美国去年的失业率达到两位数,大多数美国人却都还感觉不错。


在衡量生活满意度时,皮尤和盖洛普的民调都要求答问者给自己的生活打分,以0-10的分数测算当 前和未来的生活质量。10分是最理想的生活。在皮尤中心的民调中,31%的中国人给当前生活打了高分(7-10分),有74%的答问者说,他们估计未来的生活会非常幸福。

目前尚不完全清楚,为何这两项民调所反映的中国截然不同。皮尤中心 调查的中国民众数量是盖洛曾的三倍,因此样本量可能是原因之一。另外,皮尤的调查对象过多锁定了城市居民,而城市居民普遍比农村居民富裕。盖洛普民调显 示,中国并非唯一经济快速发展但民众心态悲观的国家。只有17%的印度人和16%的越南人对生活比较满意,都低于2l%的全球中位数水平。从总体来看,亚洲民众打出的分数都略低于全球“美满”类别的中位数水平。欧洲(25%)和美洲(42%)打出的分数则要高出许多。

如果想弄清地区间的乐观程度差异从何而来,只需看看人均国内生产总值。美国普林斯顿大学经济学家安 格斯-迪顿发现,生活满意度与人均国内生产总值之间几乎存在着必然联系,而经济增长其实对民众的幸福感具有消极影响。

在分析经济增长与生活满意度的负面关系时,其他经济学家提出的理论是, —个人的幸福感由相对(而不是绝对)收入决定。这种观点在经济界存在争议,但可以解释中国的乐观程度为何会低迷。在该国,日益扩大的贫富差距引发了社会紧 张关系。


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