VII. The People’s Living Standards and
Quality of Life Have Been Enhanced

As the economy and various social undertakings improve, the living standard of the people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang is improving year by year.

The income of both urban and rural residents is continuously growing. In 2001, the average net income per capita in the rural areas of Xinjiang was 1,710.44 yuan, which was more than what was needed for food and clothing. The average annual salary of an urban employee was 10,278 yuan. Urban residents, as a whole, led comfortable lives.

The consumption structure of local residents is improving steadily. In Xinjiang, the Engel’s coefficient (the food consumption ratio) is dropping year by year. Among rural residents, the Engel’s coefficient was as high as 60.8% in 1978, but dropped to 50.4% in 2001. With regard to urban residents, the Engel’s coefficient was 57.3% in 1978, but dropped to 35.5% in 2001.

The number of durable consumer goods owned by local residents is increasing rapidly. In 2001, every hundred rural households owned, on average, 122.3 bicycles, 93.3 television sets, 22.13 washing machines and 53.1 tape-recorders, which, compared with the figures for 1985, represented increases of 78.4%, 830%, 950% and 610%, respectively. In 2001, every hundred urban households owned, on average, 107.39 color television sets, 84.47 refrigerators, 94.69 washing machines and 41 cameras, which, compared with the figures for 1985, showed increases of 190%, 700%, 76.7% and 330%, respectively. Besides, they also owned 42.96 video CD players, 18.59 video cassette-recorders, 17.33 hi-fi sets and 15.89 mobile phones. With regard to housing, the living space per capita in rural areas was 18.04 sq m in 2001, which was a 2.3-fold increase over that of 1981. The living space per capita in urban areas was 15.54 sq m in 2001, which was an increase of 2.6 times compared to 1981.

The quality of life of local residents has been noticeably improved. The popularization rate of education and the educational level have been raised. The coverage of radio and television is wide. Cultural and sports activities with mass participation are varied and colorful. Much improvement has been made in medi-care and health work. People of all ethnic groups in both urban and rural areas are leading well-off and stable lives. Life expectancy in Xinjiang has been extended to 71.12 years. The demography of Xinjiang shows the features of low rate of birth, low rate of death and low rate of increase. Xinjiang was cited as one of the four longevity areas in the world by the International Society of Natural Medication in 1985. The number of centenarians per million of Xinjiang’s population ranks first in the country.