China is a country that is developing at the fastest rate in the universe. The World Bank ranked China as the fastest developing country in the world in the year 2014. China was followed by the Philippines and the republic of Kenya. Unlike other developing countries and even the developed ones, the Chinese economy has shown the steadiest upwards trend over the past several decades, in the 1980s, the living standards in China assessed using the Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) was only 2% of that of the US. However, after the change of economic policies and massive opening up of the Chinese economy under the name of ‘Deng Xiaoping’s reforms, the country started an upwards trend in economic development. By the year 1996, China was the largest manufacturing economy in the world. This set a stage for improvement of living standards as many job opportunities were created. Since this time period, China’s economic growth has been among the top in the world. In the European financial crises of 2008/2009 which also caused a depression in the US economy, China was seen to continue developing despite the crises. Large multinationals start or enhanced their operations in China as the purchasing power in the chines economy continued to grow.
Over the same time period, significant economic development has occurred which has occasioned the average living standard to rise significantly. The median household income, par capital income as well as PPP have followed suit. Compared to other developing countries, the living standards in normal Chinese families are higher. Studies show that the living standards in China are much higher than organizations such as World Bank had projected in 1980s. Despite the disparity between the urban families that are experiencing fast development and the rural ones whose agrarian lifestyles have not changed much, the average living standards are significantly higher than other developing countries in Southern Asia and sub- Saharan Africa.
In 2014, the income per capita in the population was around $52000 in the US, slightly below $36,000 in Japan and 34,000 in the European Union while China had $9,900. Although the average living standard for average Chinese family may seem low compared to those of the developed world, the above comparison shows that the PPP of China grew from only 2% that of the US in the 1980 to 20% (that of the US) in 2014. This represents a country that has made significant steps in developing and improving the living standards for the citizens. No other of the developing country has been able to keep a continuous growth trend like China has. For this reason, the living standards for normal families have greatly improved compared to most of other developing countries. This is despite the fact that more or Chinese families are below this category. Aspects such as human development with parameters such as income, the availability, affordability and access to education have also improved over time in the Chinese population.
Various authors have studied and written materials describing the development process of the Chinese economy and the consequences of the same in the population. The views of such authors have been varied but all highlight a significant economic development taking place for a long period of time. Some have concluded that this has led to betterment of the living standards for the normal families while others have introduced debate that there has not been change of any significance to the living standards of the normal Chinese family over the recent past.
According to Rawski and Thomas, Chinese economy has experienced an incredible growth. The authors chose to focus more clearly on the resilience of the Chinese economy in various economic times. The authors observed that during the 2008/2009 global financial crises, almost all countries were affected by the European and the American credit crunch. The rate of economic development in most of the developing countries was greatly reduced and the chances of such countries to improve the living standards for their citizens were significantly reduced. However, amidst this slowed development. China was able to continue developing at a significant pace leading to continued betterment of people’s standards of leaving. The cumulative effect of Chinese resilience to the global financial crises of 2008/2009 is continuous reduction of extreme poverty among Chinese families through increase of in income, development of infrastructure and enhancement of education among others. The authors are able to evaluate the rise in living standards of normal families compared to the US, japan and the European Union. The above economic development has led to restructuring of some Chinese families and other social settings in the light of increasing opportunities as well as rural development. The rural development aspect has had an impact on the traditions of the rural Chinese population that has had Asian traditions and culture for many centuries.
Sheng has provided valuable insight into various articles that explore the Chinese family unit and its current trends in the rapidly modernizing China. This analysis does not only talk about China but includes Asia and especially south pacific nations. The Chinese families are experiencing marked transformation over time in terms of access to opportunities. Compared to other developing countries in the southern Asia, access of opportunities for Chinese families has greatly increased. Additionally, the rapidly expanding manufacturing sector continues to provide employment to many Chinese youths which raises the standards of living. Still, there has been marked improvement in the transport system effectively linking various rural settlements with urban areas. This has enhanced cultural exchange changing the Chinese rural architecture among others. The improved infrastructure also allows people to travel more efficiently and seek educational as well as employment opportunities away from home. One of the greatest aspects that has greatly boosted the increase in the income and access of income to the Chinese families is the enhanced quality of technical education offered in large areas of China. This, coupled with enhanced international transport network linking China to other countries of southern Asia allows movement of Chinese skilled workers to these countries to seek employment opportunities. This has greatly boosted the incomes for families leading to enhanced standards of living. The Asian traditions among the Chinese families have played a crucial role in reducing disparities in the development. The strong kinship among the rural families ensures that the entire family unit develops together. The earning members of Chinese families support the whole family which helps boost the livelihood of the entire unit.
According to Nee, Victor & Sonja, the Chinese social units and market structures are changing. Despite the communist government that has communist institutions, various individuals and communities in China are realizing the need to work hard, become innovative and develop personal wealth. Over the time and amidst steady economic development at the national level, many of the Chinese people are taking personal initiatives to start their own ventures and come up with new innovations in the market. This has given rise to rise of many firms providing products and services to the population while widening the already large economic base. In the past, people relied mainly on the opportunities availed by the government and depended on systems provided by the government for education and trade. However, Chinese markets have become competitive institution where high quality of production work and maximization of returns are highly emphasized. Others have developed their own marketing systems to reach a global clientele. The results have not only been financial prosperity but also opportunities and prospects for future growth. According to the authors, the fabric of the Chinese family has been very pivotal in making the advancements made in the economy to have even a higher effect to the whole population. The most notable aspect of how this kinship works is that each members of a Chinese family unit takes preferential steps to empower other members of the same family if his/her income increases. This has had a very great impact in the lives of normal families in China. The trend has been that more and more families are pulling themselves out of poverty. This trend is mostly observed in China as compared to other developing countries which have made the impact on the national development to be well spread across many normal families in China.
According to Brissenden, China has become the epitome of economic development in the Asian region. China has become the dominant economy in this region as well as throughout the entire globe after rising from internal unrests on the 20th century. The author highlights how the government has focused on providing opportunities to its citizens. Various projects that are futuristic in nature and approach include the massive investment in green energy as well as manufacturing. Due to Chinese story of resilience and the strategic investment in promoting the Chinese culture through films and media content, China is viewed by its neighbors as a country that is developing in earnest. Youths from countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines and Singapore associate studying in China with having and assured career advancement in the future. In addition, Chinese culture in the south pacific countries has been admired over the years leading to rise in the demand for Chinese films, music, martial arts, cuisine among others. This intern provides basis for more development and advancement as more opportunities are developed in an attempt to respond to the rising demand described above. Brissenden (2013) points out that China was the largest trading partner to the South East Asia trading block for the second consecutive year in 2013. China was also the largest trading partner to the US in the same year. The author describes that China had also established many other trading partnerships with the sub-Saharan Africa, the EU and South America. This meant that the country was enlarging its market in earnest in a bit to power even more industrialization. This would be confirmed in the following year by the World Bank after it was found out that China was named the fastest developing economy in 2014. In addition to the ambitious government of China, the author notes that the Chinese people are becoming more and more entrepreneurial. The entrepreneurship spirit is becoming deeply rooted among Chinese people who are developing solutions to various issues that adversely affect them as well as the entire global market.
Wang wrote an article that was published in Forbes magazine in late 2010. The area of interest by the author was the middle class in the Chinese economy. The importance of looking into the middle class is that is shows the average class in a population between the high class and the poor people. The living standards of this class can be taken to represent the average or normal life in this economy. The author had also studied and lived among the Chinese for long enough to track and take note of various developments and changes in the normal families in the Chinese population. She was therefore in a better position to have an objective view of various changes and trends. Although it does not give any comparison between the lives of Chinese middle class and others in the developing world or in the US, it gives the notable changes that have occurred in the middle class. Over the years, a large percentage of the Chinese population has managed to leave the lower class and joins the middle class. According to the author, percentage that has been affected by this shift has been around 40% excluding poor people who have risen from the lower class to become top earners in the Chinese economy. A large number of Chinese people can access and also afford quality education either at home or from the USA among other countries. The level of economic and educational empowerment among the population is also high. Unlike in the old days, many Chinese are economically and educationally empowered to develop various innovations that are marketable in the Chinese or the global market. Finance for Chinese middle class to start ventures has also been made available and accessible over time. Compared to other developing countries, the lives of a normal Chinese family is many times better than it was in 1980.
Comparison with the US economy shows that the Chinese economy has a long way to go. This is also the case when the same is compared with developed parts of the world such as the EU and the neighboring japan. Japan as a country enjoys better living standards that the EU blocks. There is still a very wide gap between the lives of the Chinese middle class compared to that in the US. Using comparable income per capita or the PPP, the living standards of a normal Chinese family is approximately five times lower than that that of the US bases on the comparisons of the year 2013. However, looking at the developmental trend in the growth of the comparable per capital income, the normal family in China enjoy above ten times better living standards that it did in 1980.
Nguyen gives an in-depth description of a Chinese family unit. His material does not talk much about economic aspects but concentrates more on the Asian traditions and basis for formation of such families. Due to deep connection that Chinese have with Asian traditions and customs, Chinese family setup is described. The ties within the Chinese setup are very important in understanding the economic statuses and the normal life in these families. Activities as well as processes such as dating and marriage as well as conflict resolution are discussed. Parents in the Asian setup are seen to play a very decisive role all aspects people’s life as well as interracial marriages. Chinese families are established and maintained along very strict kinship ties. Lineages are also maintained. The above descriptions contrast sharply with what is experienced in the US.
The primary sources of income for the Chinese population are salaries from the government and governmental corporations. The Chinese government has been the major employer in the economy especially between 1949 and 1980 in the period of centralized economic planning. After reforms and decentralization, other organizations could be formed that provided jobs for the population. However, over the same period, the Chinese population has also engaged in agricultural production. This became important sources of employment for the population. Many people could be engaged directly or otherwise in agricultural value chains. Trade has also been a crucial area where a significant percentage of the Chinese population has sourced income from. After the economic reforms of 1980s, many people in the Chinese population could start their own ventures, however, this was hampered by lack of capital in the 80s but the capital is now relatively accessible. In the twentieth century, Chinese population has become significantly entrepreneurial developing many innovations that are demanded world over. Chinese youths have played a leading role in exploiting ICT to develop entrepreneurial ventures some of which provide solutions to the global market. The Chinese government, which is now more developed, continues to be an important source of employment alongside various sectors of economy that is also experiencing rapid development.
There are several leisure activities that are enjoyed by Chinese normal families. One of the most popular is Mazhang that is enjoyed by the middle class. It is like a betting or gambling, casual players play as they discuss currents events in the national politics, arts, music among others. Chinese also enjoy watching or playing football. Chinese do exceptionally well in table tennis (ping pong in Chinese), badminton while others enjoy traditional Chinese martial arts (kungfu). A considerable number of Chinese enjoy karaoke while others enjoy arts and calligraphy.
The quality of life for normal families in China has been on rise. Since 1949, the government initiated a centralized economic planning that aimed at reducing inequality in the population. Afterwards, the government took steps to ensure that each family had basic necessities of life of life except 1959-1961. The government also took steps to ensure that the country’s investment was mainly meant for productive than recurrent purposes. Enormous health and sanitation projects were carried out by the government to improve public health. The results of these projects were the rising of life expectancy from 32-69 years in the period between 1949 and1985. In addition, the number of people living in extreme poverty fell by around 250 million from 1978 to 1985. the living standards in China has been seen to be low compared to all other industrialized areas of the world, despite this, by 1987, approximately the entire population could access and afford enough food, clothes and shelter. This was coupled with rapid elevation of the standards of living and due to several economic reforms in the 1980s.
According to the World Bank overview, the Chinese government has since 1949 concentrated on making the living conditions for the population bearable. As seen above, the controlled economic development ensures that basics are affordable. The government has gone further ahead to boost the accessibility and the quality of education. The school enrolment in Chinese schools was 128% in 2013 which counted for other countries in the Asia pacific region. In 1998, the poverty headcount ratio at the Chinese poverty line was 4.6% of the entire population. The GNI per capita in China was $6,560 for the year 2013. In the same year, the life expectancy at birth in the Chinese population was 75years. As seen in the figures above, the Chinese GNI ($6,560) for 2013 was around a fifth of the US. However, a look at the life expectancy shows a figure that is well within the range of all the developed countries. The main reason for this is the effort by the government to make basic needs and healthcare affordable which intern makes life comfortable.
As discussed earlier, the normal life family life in China can be described as one of the best among the developing countries. China has seen its GDP growth averaging above 10% over the last decades. Over the same period, over 500,000,000 people have risen above poverty line. Additionally, according to World Bank, China is the only developing country that has been able to attain almost all the millennium development goals while the remaining ones are within its reach. China also lately became the second largest economy. However, China remains a developing country due to low per capita income compared to the developed countries. Additionally, China has around 99, 000,000 people leaving below the Chinese national poverty line of RMB 2,300. China also ranks the second among the countries with the largest number of poor people.