How prosperous is China? It’s a complicated question that can’t be answered simply by comparing the country’s GDP per capita or expenditure on consumer and luxury goods with other nations. Prosperity is also about personal satisfaction, freedom, innovation and contentedness. With this in mind, The Diplomat has teamed up with the Legatum Institute and its annual Prosperity Index to offer a broader view of prosperity in China.
Considering China has officially overtaken Japan to become the world’s second-largest economy, it might seem odd to see China ranked a respectable, but not spectacular, 24th globally in terms of economic performance.
After all, China’s official unemployment rate is low at just 4 percent during the survey period, and the country placed fourth internationally for its gross domestic savings rate.
But beneath the impressive headline numbers lays a dissatisfied workforce. Four out of 10 Chinese aren’t content with their living standards, placing China 62nd globally on that variable. In addition, less than a quarter are satisfied with the perceived job availability in their living area.
Still, there’s some reason for optimism. China continues to attract higher than average foreign direct investment, while the country’s financial institutions have the confidence of 8 out of 10 citizens, placing it in the global top 20 on this variable.
Photo: Hugi Ólafsson