An evaluation of the changes in wellbeing in China – 2005 to 2015: an exploratory study

Qiong Wang, Pundarik Mukhopadhaya*, Jingyi Ye

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Using Chinese General Social Survey (CGSS) data from 2005 and 2015, this paper estimates the levels and trends of wellbeing in China. In developing the indicators and dimensions/functionings for a multidimensional measure of wellbeing, a fuzzy method is utilized that incorporates the dispersion and average levels of wellbeing for adult individuals. Using a multivariate data reduction technique, this research identifies six major functionings of wellbeing encompassing 23 indicators to evaluate the changes in wellbeing in China. It is observed that overall achievement in wellbeing has increased by 50%, reaching an intermediate level, while four functionings (Public Action, Learning Ability, Protective Security and Life Satisfaction, and Economic Resources) showed improvement and two (Health and Shelter) have deteriorated. Rural-urban disparity has increased particularly in Health, Shelter, and Life Satisfaction. Average overall wellbeing in the northeast region has greatly improved, followed by the central, east and west areas. The disparity between east and west and east and central has increased, while overall wellbeing in central and northeast regions surpassed that in the west in 2015 resulting in a decrease in disparity between the east and northeast. Our observations show that to achieve further equity, specific targeted policies are needed on medical services, housing, protective security and education.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101457
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalChina Economic Review
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • Capability
  • China
  • Fuzzy
  • Multidimensional
  • Region
  • Rural-urban
  • Wellbeing


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