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The Scope,Identity,and Social Attitudes of the Middle Class in China

Li Peilin & Zhang Yi  
This paper analyses the scope and roles of the middle class in its developing stage and those with medium-level incomes in current China on the three dimensions of income,occupation,and education.The analysis has led to a classification of the middle class into three strata:"core middle class," "semi-core middle!class," and "peripheral middle class." The paper further compares the "objective middle class" with the "subjective middle class"(i.e.,identity of the middle class) in terms of their differences in social attitudes and the factors that are influencing their economy,politics,and social attitudes.This analysis is entirely based on the data from a national-wide survey-the Chinese General Social Survey(CGSS2006) conducted from March to May in 2006 by the Institute of Sociology,Chinese Academy of Social Sciences,which involved 7,100 households sampled from 28 provinces,municipalities and autonomous regions.It is found that the middle class currently constitutes 12.1 percent of the population in all China and 25.4 percent in urban China.However,this so-called middle class or the objective middle class within the definition by its incomes,occupations,and education is not yet a coherent class with unified social attitudes and behavioral intentions.
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