A recent lifestyle survey conducted by a subordinate body of the
National Bureau of Statistics has ranked everyone with a monthly
salary of 2,000 yuan or above as China's new-middle class.
Hinted by a China National Research Center (CNRC), the
definition of China's new-middle class is widely considered
authority, given its NBS background.
The CNRC launched a nationwide survey on September 22 in a bid
to get a close-up on the lifestyle and consumption habits of
China's new-middle class.
The questionnaire covered items such as travel, vehicle
ownership, brand preference, and personal financing and was given
to urbanites that earn at least 2,000 yuan per month in China's top
metropolises, such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen.
For less advanced cities, the middle class entrance bar was set
at 1,500 yuan a month.
However, 70 percent of all respondents to the survey from 47
cities across the country earned nearly double the modest threshold
of 2,000 yuan,.
Sixty percent of those polled hold a bachelor's degree. More
than 70 percent prefer traveling during paid holidays rather than
during Golden Week.
Urbanites working in diverse white-collar professions make up
the majority of China's new middle class.
Civil servants, lawyers, accountants, freelancers, entertainers,
medical workers, teachers, athletes, and reporters also made the
Full time housewives are shown full respect, jumping to the
neo-middle class club as a profession. While many wonder how can a
housewife be deemed a profession if she is not making a salary.
CNRC secretary general Zhang Zhongliang said the study set out
six criteria to determine middle class status: education, salary,
profession, societal influence, savings and holidays. .
Some netizens had issues with the CNRC's definition of middle
class. "One can only just survive in Beijing making 2,000 yuan a
month," wrote a netizen on sina.com, one of China's major news
A netizen named "mockingbird" wrote on sina.com that nearly
everyone in Shanghai would be classified as middle class, according
to the CNRC's low standard.
In response to these queries Zhang said that monthly salary was
not the only standard the CNRC used to define the new middle class
in China, but offered no further details.
(China Daily November 13, 2006)