Subjective Wellbeing of Chinese People: A Multifaceted View

Abstract

This paper reports the most recent subjective wellbeing (SWB) assessments by the respondents of the China Survey of Social Change. Of the total 10,927 respondents, 44.2 % are “always happy” and others vary from “sometimes happy” to “not happy at all”. To explain variation in SWB, the authors offer a multifaceted view taking into account the roles that personal health, demographic attributes, socioeconomic statuses, and the networks and relationships of social integration play in SWB. It is found that SWB assessments are higher for women and older persons than for men and younger persons, respectively, and they increase with improved physical and mental health, more educational and financial resources, greater social participation, wider social networks, and greater trust in others and institutions. Economic development, ethnic cultures, and religious beliefs are important factors of SWB assessments.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    http://finance.people.com.cn/n/2013/0307/c153179-20705370.html.

  2. 2.

    An alternative measure is the proportion of kinship ties in one’s social networks. But this is highly correlated with network size and therefore cannot be included in the model simultaneously. A separate analysis using this variable (available upon request) shows that a higher proportion of kinship ties in one’s social networks has a negative impact on SWB (−.172, not shown), which implies that people who are widely integrated into society through non-kin contacts are happier than their counterparts who are narrowly confined to their kinship networks. This point becomes more explicit in the three coefficients of social participation, generalized trust, and institutional trust.

  3. 3.

    Source: http://finance.people.com.cn/n/2013/0307/c153179-20705370.html.

  4. 4.

    Sources: http://www.worldvaluessurvey.org; tttp://www.oecd.org/statistics.

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Acknowledgments

The research of this paper was funded by a “985” grant through the Institute for Empirical Social Science Research (IESSR) at Xi’an Jiaotong University, by a key project grant from China’s Social Science Foundation (11AZD022), and by a centrally-important project from China’s Social Science Foundation (13&ZD177). The authors are grateful to the participants in the China Survey of Social Change analyzed in this paper, and to Jieming Chen, Harley Dickinson, Yaming Hao, Peter Lee, Ming-Chang Tsai, and a unanimous reviewer for their helpful comments on the earlier drafts.

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Correspondence to Yanjie Bian.

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Bian, Y., Zhang, L., Yang, J. et al. Subjective Wellbeing of Chinese People: A Multifaceted View. Soc Indic Res 121, 75–92 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-014-0626-6

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Keywords

  • Subjective wellbeing
  • Happiness
  • China