Beijingers richer but unhappier (3)

10:05, April 01, 2010      

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But Liu's life isn't all stress and unhappiness - she recently indulged a bit and bought a villa in Daxing district with a yard in front, saying she's always had the quintessential urban dream of owning a house in the country.

"I'd love to live in a place like that when we retire," Liu said, with a beaming smile on her face.

"I'm already counting down the years until my retirement," she added.

Unlike Liu, who says she is a bit confused about her position in the social echelons, 36-year-old Wang Xin, a middle-ranking office worker at a state-owned company in Beijing, know exactly where he fits.

He calls himself pre-middle class and said he will likely become a real member of the middle class after he turns 40.

Wang said he totally disagrees with a report by Lu Xueyi, a renowned sociologist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, which said that China's middle class now comprises 23 percent of its 1.3 billion population.

Though definitions for middle class vary in China, many hold that middle class families should have household incomes of at least $10,000 a year, own an apartment and a car, eat out often and travel on vacations.

"There are simply not that many people in this country who belong to this privileged group," Wang said.


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(Editor:赵晨雁)

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