China

Satisfied with the Economy, but Feeling Social Pressures

only one-third agree that they feel free to live how they want

Chinese Millennials are more satisfied than most with their economy. Fifteen percent report being extremely satisfied, which is quite a bit higher than the 10.7% 23-country average. Such economic optimism might be attributed to a high GDP growth — China has the highest GDP growth of 7.67% in 2013 among the 21 countries in the study.

 

In contrast, fewer Millennials (16.6%) in China feel satisfied with their lives in general than the global average (19.6%) and only one-third agree that they feel free to live how they want; that falls well below the global average of 50.7%. Moreover, 69.1% of Chinese Millennials feel that they need to achieve a level of social success that is recognized by others, much higher than the global average of 57.8%. In modern-day China, social success is mainly measured by the ownership of wealth. As a result, Millennials in China work hard to prove themselves so as to pursue a better life and social recognition. This same pressure of social recognition may also contribute to more than a quarter of Chinese Millennials believing that they are in poor health.

 

When it comes to roles of the government and individuals in China, much more importance is placed on the individual. With its rapid economic growth, Chinese Millennials believe that the country provides plenty of opportunity, but requires great personal effort in order to capitalize. By the same token, in times of economic instability, Millennials in China believe in coping as an individual, rather than relying on the government. Nearly two-thirds of Chinese Millennials would prefer to “Change occupation / Retrain in a new field” and “Reduce personal spending” when dealing with instability, which is much higher than the global average of 44.8% and 52.5%, respectively. These attitudes also extend to the future, with 55% of Millennials in China also believing that young people should be taught to question authority and be more individualistic.

 

Since the implementation of the one child policy in 1978, Chinese Millennials have become only children and have simple families. This differs very much from traditional big Chinese families with frequent meetings among relatives and friends.

 

The Internet and social networking are developing fast, which has resulted in Chinese Millennials being much less sociable. Only 27% of Chinese Millennials reported that they meet with friends and relatives at least once a week, which is much lower than the global average of 45.8%.

 

Despite Chinese Millennials feeling pressure in their lives and being less sociable, they are kind-hearted and willing to help; 62.2% of Chinese Millennials feel that they have the responsibility to help those worse than them. These Millennials grew up under the influence of Confucianism and Communism, and still hold the belief that they need to be kind to others, sometimes even at the expense of sacrificing themselves.

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