In 1999 the Chinese were given three seven-day national holidays a year. Since then, domestic tourism and travel home by migrant workers can reach over 300 million trips during the vacations.
Medical Insurance: In Good Hands
China once again has universal health insurance. It's very, very minimal compared to Western plans but everyone is covered and the government can afford to keep providing it without borrowing. (China's Minister for health, incidentally, is not a Communist. Chen Zhu (Chinese: 陈竺; Pinyin: Chén Zhú; born August 17, 1953), is a Chinese hematologist, molecular biologist and a member of the United States Academy of Science and the French Academy of Science). His plans to upgrade it are part of China's upcoming 5-year Plan.
Home Ownership: 90%
Ninety percent of Chinese own their homes. Few have mortgages exceeding 20% of the value of the home. Here are some figures to bear out the Chinese situation compared to ours:
According to Gallup, in many high-income countries–including New Zealand, Malta, Italy, France, Australia, and the U.S.–men are considerably more likely than women to say they feel safe walking alone at night in their communities.
In the United States, 62% 0f women feel safe walking home at night, whereas 77% of Chinese women have no worries. (Surprisingly, only 51% of Australian women feel safe at night). Read more...
Enough to Eat? Chinese are Doing Better
When Gallup asked Americans, "Have been times in the past 12 months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?" 19% answered 'Yes'.
When Gallup asked Chinese the same question,
only 6% said 'Yes'. Read more...
Wages? Going Up...
US wages have been falling for 30 years–in real, inflation-adjusted terms, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Chinese wages have been rising 15% annually and are forecast to reach parity with 'US wages in 5 years. Read more... And more here...
Professional salaries in China's major cities are close to American levels. This is good news both for China and the USA. Here are the latest figures from Shanghai:
Position Annual Salary (US$)
Engineering supervisor $25,000 – 42,000
General manager $130,000 – 330,000
R and D director $100,000 – 167,000
Procurement director $67,000 – 150,000
Quality director $67,000 – 150,000
Chief technology officer $167,000 – 330,000
Marketing director $100,000 – 130,000
PR/communications manager $34,000 – 67,000
Regional sales manager $67,000 – 100,000
Source: Hays 2012 Salary Guide
Economy: Already #1?
"On a purchasing power parity basis, I believe that China has already passed the USA.
Negative Emotions: Happy Chinese Chappies
Gallup's Negative Experience Index is a measure of respondents' experienced wellbeing on the day before the survey, providing real-time measures of respondents' negative emotionsand pain. The findings in this analysis are based on Gallup interviews in 148 countries in 2011. The U.S. was in the top quartile for daily negative emotions in 2011, scoring a 32 with increases in sadness, worry, and physical pain since 2007.
That score puts the U.S. much higher than the comparatively happy Chinese, who came in at 16.
Good Government?: The Chinese Say 'Yes.'
According to Pew Charitable Trusts, Edelman Trust Surveys, and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, China not only has the best and most trusted government on earth, it's probably the best government in world history.
Somewhere between 85% and 95% of Chinese give their national government their trust and approval. Local government doesn't score so well, at 61%.
As always, your comments are welcome and encouraged. Issues like this need more than just one opinion. And do feel free to add links to useful sources and stories!