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Report: China's urban middle-income class growing

(People's Daily Online)

16:43, August 04, 2011

China's urban middle class has reached 230 million, accounting for 37 percent of the total urban population, according to a recently released report by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The 2011 Blue Book says that among all cities, Beijing and Shanghai have the largest middle-income class, with respective proportions of 46 percent and 38 percent, and the two cities share the same proportion of 50 percent if the high-income class counted.

Shanghai has the best living conditions, with the highest consumer spending of 75 percent and the city's housing spending is 15 percent higher than the nation's average.

Song Yingchang, deputy editor of the report, said despite a larger number of urban middle class residents, their consumption level is weakened due to single-earner income structure and consumption behavior issues. He said that these factors will potentially weaken both material and consumption spending and will further adversely affect fields of technological innovation, institutional innovation and ease of social contradiction.

The report predicts that the scale of China's urban middle class will expand at a rate of 2.3 percent per year from 2010 to 2025 and the proportion of urban middle-income class may for the first time exceed that of urban lower-middle class by the year f 2019. The ideal olive-shaped social structure, with the largest proportion of middle class and small scale on both ends, will be achieved then.

Experts also corrected the mistaken belief that middle-income class equals middle class.


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