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Majorities in China feel living standard improving: Gallup poll

(Xinhua)

08:37, April 10, 2012

WASHINGTON, April 9 (Xinhua) -- Among the five emerging economies with rapid economic growth, only in China do majorities believe their standard of living has been continuing to get better over the past years, according to a Gallup poll released on Monday.

Although Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) have all experienced economic growth over the past three years, the Gallup poll showed that only in China, people have the perceptions of continued improvement of their living standard since 2009. Seventy-nine percent of Chinese had the feeling in 2011, up from 78 percent in 2010 and 76 percent in 2009.

In Brazil, 65 percent felt their living standard getting better in 2011, down from 72 percent in 2010 but up from 61 percent in 2009; In India, 44 percent felt so in 2011, unchanged from 2010 but up from 32 percent in 2009; In South Africa, 47 percent felt so in 2011, up from 34 percent in 2010 and 2009; In Russia, only 26 felt so in 2011, down from 31 percent in 2010 but up from 17 percent in 2009, the poll found.

Among the five emerging economies, majorities in only three of them -- Brazil, China and India -- are satisfied with their standard of living, indicated the poll.

Seventy-seven percent of Brazilians were satisfied with their standard of living in 2011, unchanged from 2010, but up from 74 percent in 2009; In China, 72 percent were satisfied in 2011, up from 66 percent in 2010 and 60 percent in 2009; In India, 61 percent were satisfied in 2011, down from 64 percent in 2010 but up from 60 percent in 2009.

In South Africa, 45 percent were satisfied in 2011, unchanged from 2010 but up from 42 percent in 2009; In Russia, 39 percent were satisfied in 2011, unchanged from 2010 but up from 36 percent in 2009.

While most other economies were mired in the global financial crisis, China and India realized near double-digit economic growth rates in 2009 and 2010, the fastest among the BRICS countries. Brazil, Russia and South Africa experienced economic growth in 2010, after economic losses in 2009.

It is uncertain how long high growth rates will last for the emerging economies. To continue to spur high growth rates and allow gains across income levels, the countries must implement sustainable policies, the Gallup said in a report on the poll.

The Brazilian government, for example, has enacted social policies, including expanding the Bolsa Familia program throughout the 2000s, which provides federal financial assistance to poor families. Meanwhile, China implemented poverty reduction programs over the same time period in collaboration with the World Bank. As a result, both countries see high optimism about living standards and lower disparities across income levels, said the Gallup report.

The results were based on face-to-face interviews with adults aged 15 and older in the five BRICS countries, with an error margin of two to 3.5 percentage points.

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