College grads looking to smaller cities for better lives

0 CommentsPrint E-mail China Daily, June 28, 2010
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According to Beijing Evening News, an online survey found that 86 percent of college graduates would like to work in second-tier cities. Responding to the question of what would make them "flee" first-tier big cities, some 67 percent put the blame squarely on excessive living costs. Other factors included cut-throat competition in employment, high pressure in work and life, and hukou issues.

In another survey, targeting the happiness index of middle-income families, those living in first-tier cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, displayed below average levels of happiness. Contributing factors included high housing prices, heavy workload, poor traffic situation, and less time with their families. Among those surveyed, about 67 percent believed they might be happier in smaller cities.

Amid rapidly increasing living costs, some people living in big cities have a growing desire to retreat to smaller cities. However, for many, it remains a dream - uncertainty makes it hard for them to take the first step. Furthermore, they feel like they have devoted their youth, passion and hard work to their city and don't want to lose time spent.

For young graduates, it is easier to make the decision to escape a big city. Their idea of success in a large metropolis is usually quickly crushed and it becomes natural for them to want to leave.

College graduates are gradually realizing they can still live meaningful lives in smaller cities. Not everyone needs to risk their life for high returns under fierce competition, like life in the big cities, and a stable life in a small city can have its own charm.

This has been a hot topic over recent years. Various surveys have provided hard evidence that members of the public hope to escape the unbearable pressures in life and work, provided by those "big cages".

More college graduates are making smaller cities the top choice for employment. This is not a concern but instead a welcome point, since it can quench the thirst for talent that those small cities might have. The new trend is to help inner cities catch up with established ones and hence achieve a balanced development across the country.

But problems plaguing big cities, such as run-away housing prices, crowded traffic and serious pollution, which have put huge pressure on residents, should not be left unresolved. City management leaders need to work out these puzzles.

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